Why We Ask Questions

Why We Ask Questions
We can ask questions because we can have sure answers

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Wise men still seek Him

Well, usually my main topic comes from the Book of Mormon, because that is what my blog mainly has to do with. While I will still be sharing my message from the Book of Mormon, today it has a different spin because of the Christmas season.

As I have grown up, I have really loved traditions and have been fascinated with how they get started. There are of course the traditions of the tree, the star, candy, stockings, and Santa Clause. These are all wonderful traditions, but my all time favorite tradition was when mom would get a certain book off the book shelf and read it to me and my three siblings. The book was a story from the Book of Mormon and it is the Christmas story on the other side of the world. I'd like to share it with y'all since I have come to love it so much.

This is the story of a people who knew and had faith that the Savior of the world would be born. They were on the other side of the world, but there had been prophecies foretold of his coming. These people believed in those signs and things that the prophets said would happen when Christ was born. however they were outnumbered by many who did not believe, and moreover because they did not believe they would not repent. They did not believe in the Savior or that he would be born, and because they outnumbered the believers, they decided on a certain day that all the believers would be put to the death unless they saw the signs prophesied.

"Now it came to pass that there was a day set apart by the unbelievers, that all those who believed in those traditions should be put to death except the sign should come to pass, which had been given by Samuel the prophet." - 3 Nephi 1:9

These families had heard the sign of Christ's birth being prophesied for years and were waiting for their beloved Savior to come, but as the time passed, those who did not believe began to persecute those who did.

"But there were some who began to say that the time was past for the words to be fulfilled, which were spoken by Samuel, the Lamanite. And they began to rejoice over their brethren, saying: Behold the time is past, and the words of Samuel are not fulfilled; therefore, your joy and your faith concerning this thing hath been vain." - 3 Nephi 1:5-6

So let's just step out of this story for a minute and think. For minute push past the thoughts of how busy you are, how much you have to get done, all the things want to do. Push past the thoughts of how expensive so and so's gift will be, and think about Christmas. Think about when it happened. It was not broadcast on a wide screen TV. It was not trending on Facebook. It was quiet and meek and lowly.
Now picture these families. Picture young children, who have grown up hearing the prophecies that the Christ child will come. Think about the mothers and fathers who knew that if that sign didn't come very soon, they and their families would all be put to death.

What they needed was a miracle. A Christmas miracle to save their lives and the lives of their children. Even though things did not look promising, they had the faith that their Savior was coming.

"And it came to pass that they did make a great uproar throughout the land; and the people who believed began to be very sorrowful, lest by any means those things which had been spoken might not come to pass. But behold, they did watch steadfastly for that day and that night and that day which should be as one day as if there were no night, that they might know that their faith had not been vain."- 3 Nephi 1:7-8

As the day approached that the Savior was supposed to come, the believers watched for the sign, and the unbelievers prepared to put them all to death. Their beloved prophet saw the terrible wickedness and sadness and took his heavy heart to the Lord in prayer and received an answer.

"And it came to pass that he went out and bowed himself down upon the earth, and cried mightily to his God in behalf of his people, yea, those who were about to be destroyed because of their faith in the tradition of their fathers. And it came to pass that he cried mightily unto the Lord all that day; and behold, the voice of the Lord came unto him, saying: Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world, to show unto the world that I will fulfill all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets." - 3 Nephi 1:11-13

The Lord promised that these people did not hope in vain and that He would come into the world that very night. The people waited anxiously for the coming of the sign that they might not perish. They waited for their Christmas miracle and at last it came.

"And it came to pass that the words which came unto Nephi were fulfilled, according as they had been spoken; for behold, at the going down of the sun there was no darkness; and the people began to be astonished because there was no darkness when the night came and there were many, who had not believed the words of the prophets, who fell to the earth and became as if they were dead, for they knew that the great plan of destruction which they had laid for those who believed in the words of the prophets had been frustrated; for the sign which had been given was already at hand. And they began to know that the Son of God must shortly appear; yea, in fine, all the people upon the face of the whole earth from the west to the east, both in the land north and in the land south, were so exceedingly astonished that they fell to the earth.For they knew that the prophets had testified of these things for many years, and that the sign which had been given was already at hand; and they began to fear because of their iniquity and their unbelief.And it came to pass that there was no darkness in all that night, but it was as light as though it was mid-day. And it came to pass that the sun did rise in the morning again, according to its proper order; and they knew that it was the day that the Lord should be born, because of the sign which had been given. And it had come to pass, yea, all things, every whit, according to the words of the prophets .And it came to pass also that a new star did appear, according to the word." - 3 Nephi 1: 15-21

The day came, the sign appeared. Those who had been wicked knew that everything the prophets had said was true. They could not deny the signs that had come to pass. Because of the sign appearing, the families were saved. Their Christmas miracle had come true.

We are not hoping for a sign to come, we are not an inn keeper with no room in the inn. We are each on our own search for the Savior. A quote I have seen around Christmas time states, "Wise men still seek Him." This is so true. Christmas does come just once in a year, but the spirit of Christmas, or the spirit of Christ can be around us all the time. The spirit of Christ comes when we share our love with others, when we give to those in need, when we share the saviors precious gift of the gospel with those who are perishing in unbelief. Christmas is a holiday, but it is also an attitude and a life style. It is how we as weak and imperfect human beings choose to live our lives like the Savior. I testify that we all have the opportunity to live with God again because of the Savior's birth, and this may be the greatest Christmas gift of all. These things I say, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

He is the Gift

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Power of Prayer

Hello All!

It seems that I need to rethink my plan to blog each week and settle for something more achievable like once every two weeks. I will work on doing better I promise!

To start off, I wanted to discuss something today that is very special and sacred, and yet is used all the time, all over the world, by thousands across nations. That is prayer.

Let's start at the basics: What is prayer? Since I am a missionary, I am using the only resources available to me, so if you disagree, take it up with my sources. ;)

Prayer is a two-way communication between you and your Father in Heaven. (True to the Faith)

Prayer has been around since the beginning of time. We call upon our God in prayer for many things. I love what the Bible Dictionary says about prayer.

"As soon as we learn the true relationship in which we stand toward God (namely, God is our Father, and we are His children), then at once prayer becomes natural and instinctive on our part (Matt. 7:7–11). Many of the so-called difficulties about prayer arise from forgetting this relationship. Prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other." -Bible Dictionary

So lets take that and dissect it a bit.

First off it talks about our true relationship with God. That can make one of the biggest differences in the world. I think about people that I know and that I talk to quite frequently. I know these people. I have spent some time with them, and I know more about their personality. I have felt a connection with them and I enjoy talking with them and getting to know them better.

Do we know our Father in Heaven? When we speak with Him, it is familiar to us? One of the ways we can know our true relationship with Father in Heaven is when we read the scriptures. The scriptures are the Father's guide and instruction to come back to Him. They are filled with his love for us and the desire to bless us as we obey his commandments.

When we truly know and even feel how much our Father in Heaven loves us, prayer becomes the kind of communication that we look forward to, like when we talk to a beloved friend.

Okay, the next item I wanted to touch on was the phrase:

"bringing the will of the Father and the will of the child into correspondence with each other."

This phrase literally changed my life. If we really truly simplify the gospel, and we really look at what our Lord had asked of us, then we can see it clearly. God's whole purpose is help us live in a way so that he may bless us.  As we truly turn our hearts to Him in prayer, we will know what He wants for us, so that we can rise to the truly incredible potential we have as sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father.

I know that usually I pull my blogs out of the Book of Mormon, today the message just comes from my heart and it is shorter than usual. Prayer is found all over in the Book of Mormon, and in the Bible. Our Father wants so badly to hear from us, and for us to obedient so that He may bless us. I know that as we truly seek to understand our relationship with our Father in Heaven, we will come to understand what the power of prayer truly is. I say these things, in Jesus's Christ's name, amen.

The Power of Prayer (click here!)

Monday, October 27, 2014

What Is Most Important?

Hello fellow readers of my blog!

Last time we met, we had just gotten an introduction to Alma. Later on he has a son who he also names Alma and so to avoid confusion of the Alma's, we will refer to this Alma as Alma the Elder. Alma the Elder is the one who heard the words of Abinadi and he believed them.

Have you ever come to find out something was true, and it completely changed your life?

What did you do with that knowledge?

Imagine that you are Alma the Elder. Most of your life you have lived in the King's palace and you have had every luxury you could ever want. All of your time is spent fulfilling your own wants and desires. I think that falls under the "lazy and idolatrous people" category.
Now all the sudden some old man is coming in and saying that you are wrong, you are sinning, and most importantly, you need to repent. He says he is a prophet and God told him to come and to call all you and your friends and associates to repentance.

Well, you could be angry and defensive, or you can be humble and repent.
Alma chooses the latter.

When Alma heard Abinadi preaching God's word, it touched something inside of him. So he repented, changed his ways and lived happily ever after.

Except that their were some trials before he got to the happily ever after point. After he hears this message, he just wants to share it with everyone:

"And now, it came to pass that Alma, who had fled from the servants of king Noah, repented of his sins and iniquities, and went about privately among the people, and began to teach the words of Abinadi, Yea, concerning that which was to come, and also concerning the resurrection of the dead, and the redemption of the people, which was to be brought to pass through the power, and sufferings, and death of Christ, and his resurrection and ascension into heaven."- Mosiah 18:1-2

Alma doesn't just take what he learned to benefit himself. He takes it and he tries to tell the whole world. He has to do it in secret, because King Noah, the one who put Abinadi to death is watching and he does not want people to be hearing the word of God from anyone. Alma was taking a big risk, but he knew it was the right thing to do.
He begins to gather the people and teach the things that Abinadi taught. He teaches so many people, that he begins to attract a rather large crowd, and they all want that knowledge that he has. 

"And it came to pass after many days there were a goodly number gathered together at the place of Mormon, to hear the words of Alma. Yea, all were gathered together that believed on his word, to hear him. And he did teach them, and did preach unto them repentance, and redemption, and faith on the Lord."-Mosiah 1:7

These people Alma was teaching were hungry for the gospel. They were not content with the lives they were leading, they knew they needed God. They knew that they needed to become humbled and they responded with the desire of their hearts.

These are the questions that Alma asks them to find out where their hearts truly are, we should ask ourselves the same questions and see how what the desires of our hearts are, and if we need to be a little more humble. 

"....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; 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. 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?"-Mosiah 1:8-10

This is how the people answered:

"And now when the people had heard these words, they clapped their hands for joy, and exclaimed: This is the desire of our hearts."-Mosiah 1:11

What a wonderful example of how we should feel. 

I don't know all that is in store when we reach the other side, but I do know that we don't qualify for heaven by how expensive our car is, or how much work we put in at a law firm. These things don't matter so much in the long run of things. What will matter will be our desire to follow God. Did we try to help others? Did we lift others burdens? Did we love God and try to follow his commandants?

Alma had the best of everything, and he gave it all up to follow God. Remember Jesus Christ's apostles gave up their livelihoods to follow the Savior.

This world is about learning and growing. We want to become like Jesus Christ. We want to live with God again. We must look at our desires and see where we are, and where we need to be. God has high expectations of us, because He loves us and knows the potential we have to become like Him. I know that as we give up our worldly cares and focus on the eternal perspective of things, our lives will change for the better and we will see things how God does. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Repenting of inactive blogging...

My fellow readers of my blog, I am terribly sorry! I have been off for quite a while. I have got slightly inactive on my blog....however, we believe in forgiveness and trying again right!:)

In thinking about what to blog about since it has been such a long time, I found myself thinking about those who go through trials and the attitudes they have as they go through them. Now of course this is namely all of us. Which is the point, there is really not one of us that can escape life unscathed. However to quote one of my favorite Disney movies:

   "You can either run from it, or learn from it."- The Lion King

I prefer the learn from it option:)

So as I was thinking about people in the Book of Mormon and the trials and attitudes they had, so many people came to mind. I mean there are many people in the Book of Mormon who had it pretty rough. However two people in particular really stuck out to me, and its not really because of their trials, but their attitudes towards them.

Drum roll please!

...............Abinadi and Alma the Elder!

Oh Abinadi. He is a prophet. He is sent to preach to people because they have turned away from God, and they have become as is described in the Book of Mormon, a "lazy and idolatrous people." They no longer loved one another,and there was so much wickedness in the land. Well we know when that happens, our Heavenly Father, merciful God that he is, allows us chances. He sends us prophets to teach us the gospel and help us repent. We know from previous experiences that living the gospel is what makes us happier and God knows that so he tries to help the people out. So God sends them Abinadi.

Now, do you think they are happy and appreciate Abinadi?

"And it came to pass that there was a man among them whose name was Abinadi; and he went forth among them, and began to prophesy, saying: Behold, thus saith the Lord, and thus hath he commanded me, saying, Go forth, and say unto this people, thus saith the Lord—Wo be unto this people, for I have seen their abominations, and their wickedness, and their whoredoms; and except they repent I will visit them in mine anger. And except they repent and turn to the Lord their God, behold, I will deliver them into the hands of their enemies; yea, and they shall be brought into bondage; and they shall be afflicted by the hand of their enemies."- Mosiah 11: 20-21

This is how the people felt...

"Now it came to pass that when Abinadi had spoken these words unto them they were wroth with him, and sought to take away his life"- Mosiah 11:26

So needless to say they weren't really thrilled at the prospect of repenting. As well as they really weren't jumping for joy every time that Abinadi came around. They sort of well, sought his life and stuff.

Now to be fair, I am not always really excited to repent either. I would say for the most part many of us are not. However we can be. Our attitude towards repentance can be different and if we ask God, he can show us how repentance truly makes us happier, even when its hard.

I remember a time in my own personal life, where I knew for 100% sure that I was not living the gospel like I was supposed to. I was doing bad things, and I really didn't care. I am sure that I had my own personal Abinadi who came and told me to straighten up. I am also sure I probably was not very kind to that person. I thought to myself, "it is my life, so why does it matter?"

That is the first attitude we can have.
The next attitude is the best one we can have.

Introducing....Alma, the Elder

Alma was actually one of these wicked people. Abinadi was brought before the king and basically ridiculed and tortured. While he was there though, he preached the gospel, and while many were angry, one was changed.

Cue Alma.

"And now it came to pass that when Abinadi had finished these sayings, that the king commanded that the priests should take him and cause that he should be put to death." -Mosiah 17:1

Because remember they had that first attitude of "its my life and I'll do what I want."

Then there is Alma:

"But there was one among them whose name was Alma, he also being a descendant of Nephi. And he was a young man, and he believed the words which Abinadi had spoken, for he knew concerning the iniquity which Abinadi had testified against them; therefore he began to plead with the king that he would not be angry with Abinadi, but suffer that he might depart in peace. But the king was more wroth, and caused that Alma should be cast out from among them, and sent his servants after him that they might slay him. But he fled from before them and hid himself that they found him not. And he being concealed for many days did write all the words which Abinadi had spoken." -Mosiah 17: 2-4

That is the second attitude, and the best one to have when it comes trials and repentance. Alma knew that what he and the others had done was wrong, he knew it was. He could have chosen to become upset and to be angry with Abinadi for preaching what was hard to hear. Instead he humbled himself before God and he realized what he had done wrong. Then he acted and went and did something about it.

Now granted not all of all our situations are as drastic as either Abinadi or Alma, but we all have opportunities to repent, and we have them often. I know that as we seek the Lord's will for us, even if it does not seem like the easy road or even the fun road, it will bring us eternal happiness.

Tune in next time to find out what happens to Alma next...

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Jacob and Sherem

Some things go out of fashion, and some things come back in. Fashion is always changing. What the world thinks is important or the new latest trend is always changing. Personally I can't keep up, (I can't watch or listen to anything not church related.) Now with everything that goes in and out of style, interestingly, it usually comes back in some form or another. Sometimes we make the grave mistake of thinking that God changes with the times.

" For do we not read that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and in him there is no variableness neither shadow of changing?" -Mormon 9:9

He does not.

Jacob the prophet, the man from the previous post, came up against a man who tried to say that Christ would not come. His name was Sherem. Sherem was a man who knew how to flatter anyone, and he was sneaky and deceptive. He didn't like the idea of having Jesus Christ come, because he didn't like responsibility and accountability that entailed. So he went around spread the word that their was no Christ and belief in such a being was a vain and foolish hope.

"And it came to pass that he began to preach among the people, and to declare unto them that there should be no Christ. And he preached many things which were flattering unto the people; and this he did that he might overthrow the doctrine of Christ." - Jacob 7:2

Now as y'all know from my last post, if you are keeping up;) Jacob, is a man with a testimony like fire! He knows we are all children of God and that Christ is his beloved and begotten son, sent to redeem mankind from sin. So needless to say, he and Sherem exchange some words...

"And it came to pass that he came unto me, and on this wise did he speak unto me, saying: Brother Jacob, I have sought much opportunity that I might speak unto you; for I have heard and also know that thou goest about much, preaching that which ye call the gospel, or the doctrine of Christ. 

And ye have led away much of this people that they pervert the right way of God, and keep not the law of Moses which is the right way; and convert the law of Moses into the worship of a being which ye say shall come many hundred years hence. And now behold, I, Sherem, declare unto you that this is blasphemy; for no man knoweth of such things; for he cannot tell of things to come. And after this manner did Sherem contend against me."-Jacob 7:6-7

And Jacob says:

"And I said unto him: Deniest thou the Christ who shall come?

 And he said: If there should be a Christ, I would not deny him; but I know that there is no Christ, neither has been, nor ever will be.
And I said unto him: Believest thou the scriptures? 

And he said, Yea.

And I said unto him: Then ye do not understand them; for they truly testify of Christ. Behold, I say unto you that none of the prophets have written, nor prophesied, save they have spoken concerning this Christ. And this is not all—it has been made manifest unto me, for I have heard and seen; and it also has been made manifest unto me by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, I know if there should be no atonement made all mankind must be lost." -Jacob 7:9-12

So what we have going on here is a battle of wits. Sherem thinks he has all the right answers. He says well, I'm not denying the Christ, because there isn't one. But Jacob's reply is do you read the scriptures? Do you believe them? They truly testify of Christ. 

Well with that kind of response, Sherem is a little stuck....so he responds with:

"And it came to pass that he said unto me: Show me a sign by this power of the Holy Ghost, in the which ye know so much."- Jacob 7:13

You Never Ask God To Show You A Sign...

To which Jacob responds...

"And I said unto him: What am I that I should tempt God to show unto thee a sign in the thing which thou knowest to be true? Yet thou wilt deny it, because thou art of the devil. Nevertheless, not my will be done; but if God shall smite thee, let that be a sign unto thee that he has power, both in heaven and in earth; and also, that Christ shall come. And thy will, O Lord, be done, and not mine. And it came to pass that when I, Jacob, had spoken these words, the power of the Lord came upon him, insomuch that he fell to the earth. And it came to pass that he was nourished for the space of many days."-Jacob 7: 14-15

So then, Sherem receives a sign...

Now, does this mean that everyone who does something God doesn't like is going to be struck dumb? No. However I do know, that we will be held accountable for what we do with our knowledge. God does not change, and neither do his ways. The things that are wrong will always be wrong, and the things that are right are always right and will always be right.

We are God's children, and he has has made it simple. "If ye love me, keep my commandments."-John 14:15

I know that as we follow God, we will be blessed to know of his love for us. This world is not the end, and he is preparing for us, mansions in heaven that we can't even dream of. We can be like Jacob who knew, or we can be like Sherem who thought he knew. In the end, who do you want to be?

Check out this video, which shares the story of a man searching to find God, and how he found Him.


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Jacob, Defender of Morality and Rigtheousness

    I was engaged in an interesting conversation the other day, that focused on humanity and its values. We began by talking about the US Dollar. Why is the dollar worth a dollar? Why is it that for a piece of cloth with ink on it, I can go to McDonald's down the street and trade it for a big mac?

    It's because the dollar represents an amount of gold. The cloth money backs it up for the price of gold it represents. ( Stay with me, I promise this relates.) Gold only means something because we decided that it does. We as a human race decided that gold is worthwhile and we will give something in exchange for it.

    Now if we take that same analogy, but we change it just a little bit. What morals are important to our society? What has our society deemed worth it, and willing to trade? I must say as I look around it is not good. The world would have us think, that so many of things we see going on, are worthwhile and will bring us happiness, but just like the cloth representative of gold, the world's happiness doesn't last. As soon as you use your dollar to buy something, the dollar is gone, and what it has gotten you is temporary. They both do not last.

     Jacob in the Book of Mormon boldly speaks to his people on the evils in the world, and how the woman and children feel. he says:

"... It grieveth me that I must use so much boldness of speech concerning you, before your wives and your children, many of whose feelings are exceedingly tender and chaste and delicate before God, which thing is pleasing unto God..." -Jacob 2:7

Of their sins and transgressions he says:

"...I must do according to the strict commands of God, and tell you concerning your wickedness and abominations, in the presence of the pure in heart, and the broken heart, and under the glance of the piercing eye of the Almighty God. And now behold, my brethren, this is the word which I declare unto you, that many of you have begun to search for gold, and for silver, and for all manner of precious ores, in the which this land, which is a land of promise unto you and to your seed, doth abound most plentifully.

    And the hand of providence hath smiled upon you most pleasingly, that you have obtained many riches; and because some of you have obtained more abundantly than that of your brethren ye are lifted up in the pride of your hearts, and wear stiff necks and high heads because of the costliness of your apparel, and persecute your brethren because ye suppose that ye are better than they." -Jacob 2: 10,12-13

    Jacob as their prophet comes before them to tell them in other words, "You have committed sins and broken the hearts of your wives and children,and it all started because you were looking for things of value all in temporary places such as in gold and silver." Then he tells them do you think God will justify you for this? He will not. God asks "But before ye seek for riches, seek ye for the kingdom of God." - Jacob 2:18

   This is only the beginning. Seeking for riches was not what broke the hearts of the wives and children. This is what broke the hearts of the wives and children:

   "Behold, ye have done greater iniquities than the Lamanites, our brethren. Ye have broken the hearts of your tender wives, and lost the confidence of your children, because of your bad examples before them; and the sobbings of their hearts ascend up to God against you. And because of the strictness of the word of God, which cometh down against you, many hearts died, pierced with deep wounds." -Jacob 2:35

   What broke their hearts, was when riches became the focus. As the people began to focus more on riches and gaining temporal things, they lost sight of the gift of children, and marriage. They no longer found joy in gospel of Jesus Christ. They sought to have money and position, and by doing so lost the people most dear to them.

   I am not here to condemn the dollar. I don't condemn money, but as I look around the world today and I meet people and talk with them, and hear the burdens of their heart, I am just so sad. God gave us freedom to make our choices, but he also gave us the laws to follow in order to be happy. Rules and laws keep us safe and our freedom intact. Satan would have you believe it is the other way around.

  What would happen if we all just started trying a little harder to be a little better? To help those in need, and love those who need love? Morals are what build up a society. What is important to us becomes our value system. Don't we value the one who gave us life and all we have?

   I know that all though the world tries to bury us in filth, God lifts us out and by rising to his expectations, we can have true and everlasting, rather than fake and temporary happiness.


How do you follow Him?


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Desirable Above All Other Fruit...

Due to the fact that I am a week behind, I decided to mix things up and start with a picture! The reason I chose this topic is because of the question we missionaries get asked so frequently:
 "Why are you out here sharing the gospel?"

This picture when given a first glance is probably kind of different. You have several different people all holding onto a rope or rod of some kind, some people are on the side by this giant building that pretty much looks like it's in the middle of the dessert somewhere; not to mention the glowing tree that everybody is going to at the end of the rope/rod thing people are holding onto.

Sister Allen, what are you even talking about?

Friends, family, and any others who read this blog, I give you the Tree of Life.

Let us turn to pg 14 in our Book of Mormons, starting in chapter 8:

"And it came to pass that while my father tarried in the wilderness he spake unto us, saying: Behold, I have dreamed a dream; or, in other words, I have seen a vision." - 1 Nephi 8:2

So to give a little background, Lehi is the father of Nephi, the very first prophet to write in the Book of Mormon. Lehi is a prophet, and has been told that he and his family need to leave their beloved homeland, because it is going to be destroyed due to the wickedness of the people. They live in Jerusalem. 

This part takes place after they have already left Jerusalem, and are traveling in the wilderness. Lehi tells his family he has had a dream or a vision, and the picture above is depicting his dream.

So Lehi begins to tell his family, which consists of his wife, and four sons, about the dream he has had. He starts it off by telling them, that he saw a man in a white robe who told him to follow, but as he followed, he became lost in what he calls a "dreary wasteland." 

I want you to stop and think for a minute. What is your dreary wasteland? We know who to follow, he has said come follow me, and yet sometimes we lose our way in the dreary wastelands. What does Lehi do when he comes to this dreary wasteland? What do you do?

"And after I had traveled for the space of many hours in darkness, I began to pray unto the Lord that he would have mercy on me, according to the multitude of his tender mercies." -1 Nephi 8:8

I love prayer. It is one of the most powerful tools we have. Stop and think for a moment, that the most powerful being in the universe has reserved a quiet and deeply personal communication between you and Him. Lehi finding himself alone, begins to pray. When we find ourselves in darkness, spiritual or other, do we turn to our God? Do we pray and ask for his help? Do we know how to have deep communication with our Father in Heaven and really talk to Him about how we feel?

Lehi finds solace in his prayer. 

"And it came to pass after I had prayed unto the Lord I beheld a large and spacious field. And it came to pass that I beheld a tree, whose fruit was desirable to make one happy." - 1 Nephi 8: 9-10

"And it came to pass that I did go forth and partake of the fruit thereof; and I beheld that it was most sweet, above all that I ever before tasted. Yea, and I beheld that the fruit thereof was white, to exceed all the whiteness that I had ever seen. And as I partook of the fruit thereof it filled my soul with exceedingly great joy; wherefore, I began to be desirous that my family should partake of it also; for I knew that it was desirable above all other fruit." - 1 Nephi 8: 11-12

You gotta love the scriptures. Look at the detail used to explain the tree and the fruit. Look at the wording used to describe how it tasted. I bolded and italicized some of the words that stuck out to me. I also love how after finding out how sweet the fruit tasted, the first thing he wanted to do was to share it with his family. That's what I would want to do! :) My family means the world to me, and if I found something that meant that much to me, oh yes, I would want to share it. Sharing is sometimes the sweetest part; when we get to watch someone else taste that delicious fruit as well. 

So maybe now you are starting to see where I am going with this. What gives us joy beyond anything else in this world? Really think about it, when you have been the happiest, why were you so happy? I can honestly tell you that the happiest I have ever been, is out here on my mission. Missions are hard! They are excruciatingly hard, people are not very nice sometimes, the weather doesn't always like you, people tear down your most cherished beliefs and things you hold sacred, you live with someone 24/7 that you hopefully like, when you just start getting things figured out you get moved, and you grow so close to people and watch them be so close and then they let it all go. 

Why in the world would anyone in their right mind, want to go on a mission?

Because of that fruit. That fruit is the reason. The fruit that bears the love of God, and his gospel that makes us all whole. Who of us, would not want to see the Savior? To live in His and the Father's presence once again? We all have that desire to be with Him, and feel of His love for us. There are many of us who struggle to find that fruit. The path to get there is long and hard, and full of those who will pull you away or mock you for trying. There is a rod of Iron. That is what will get us to the tree which bears the fruit we all so long for. The rod of Iron is the word of God. What He has given us to make it safely back to Him. 

So why am I a missionary? Because I wish to share the fruit that is Most Sweet, and fills us with Exceedingly Great Joy. 

I know that the gospel message that we share brings that joy, and leads to that fruit, and I say these things in the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.

You like this story? Check out a talk by one of our church leaders:)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Prodigal Son Returns

   I named this post the prodigal son returns, because this is a story about another prodigal son. We know the story of the prodigal son in the New Testament. Jesus tells the parable of the prodigal son. I want to share a story in the Book of Mormon that is similar and sometimes very relate-able, at least to me it is.

  Meet Alma. Alma is strong! Confident! Handsome! Okay, you caught me, I don't actually know if he was handsome. This was about 100 years before Christ, in America, and lets face it, I wasn't there. :) However by reading the scriptures we get a feel for what kind of person Alma is. This Alma we will refer to as Alma the Elder, as he has a son who is also named Alma, but since he's young, he is called Alma the younger. Funny how they did it that way. To describe Alma the Elder, we will go to the scriptures:

  "Blessed art thou, Alma, and blessed are they who were baptized in the waters of Mormon. Thou art blessed because of thy exceeding faith in the words alone of my servant Abinadi. And blessed are they because of their exceeding faith in the words alone which thou hast spoken unto them. And blessed art thou because thou hast established a church among this people; and they shall be established, and they shall be my people.Yea, blessed is this people who are willing to bear my name; for in my name shall they be called; and they are mine. And because thou hast inquired of me concerning the transgressor, thou art blessed. Thou art my servant; and I covenant with thee that thou shalt have eternal life; and thou shalt serve me and go forth in my name, and shalt gather together my sheep." - Mosiah 26: 15-20

  So we come to find that Alma is blessed, he is obedient, he loves God, he is a hard worker, and he is promised by God that if he continues to be faithful, he will have eternal life. That is a pretty strong promise. Well Alma is pretty great, but he is not the prodigal son I am referring to... his son is.

Meet Alma the younger.

  "And also one of the sons of Alma was numbered among them, he being called Alma, after his father; nevertheless, he became a very wicked and an idolatrous man. And he was a man of many words, and did speak much flattery to the people; therefore he led many of the people to do after the manner of his iniquities. And he became a great hinderment to the prosperity of the church of God; stealing away the hearts of the people; causing much dissension among the people; giving a chance for the enemy of God to exercise his power over them." -Mosiah 27:8-9

  So we can definitely see some differences. Alma the younger does not want to be like his father. He is a little rebellious, and he wants to be his own person, he doesn't want to be held back by rules and boundaries.

  How many of us are like him? How many of us see the rules as restraints that block and interfere with our freedom? How many of us have been in fights with our parents because they were trying to keep us safe, but we thought they were restricting our fun? I know I have. I'll be the first to admit I have been in younger Alma's shoes. I have felt a little rebellious and did things I knew I shouldn't.

How does younger Alma, return back to God, or does he even return? Well, he needed a little bit of help, let us read what he encounters.

  So lets imagine you are maybe walking home from school, or maybe work or something. As you are walking, (keep in mind you have been going around doing bad things and wreaking havoc) you see an angel of God, and this what he says to you, imagine him speaking with a voice like thunder:

  "Alma, arise and stand forth, for why persecutest thou the church of God? For the Lord hath said: This is my church, and I will establish it; and nothing shall overthrow it, save it is the transgression of my people. And again, the angel said: Behold, the Lord hath heard the prayers of his people, and also the prayers of his servant, Alma, who is thy father; for he has prayed with much faith concerning thee that thou mightest be brought to the knowledge of the truth; therefore, for this purpose have I come to convince thee of the power and authority of God, that the prayers of his servants might be answered according to their faith. And now behold, can ye dispute the power of God? For behold, doth not my voice shake the earth? And can ye not also behold me before you? And I am sent from God." - Mosiah 27:13-15

  As I try to picture this in my head, I know what I would be doing. I would probably be on the ground crying. I would be scared, and I would be feeling horrifically guilty. There is nothing like an angel of God coming to tell you to repent because the Lord had heard your father's prayers.

Well with an eye opening experience like that, you have to wonder how Alma the younger took it...

But, I'm not going to tell you yet. :) I'll tell you next week in my next blog post. Gotta keep you in suspense sometimes.

Has anyone ever had experiences like this? Maybe not an angel, but an eye-opening experience? One you would like to share? Please feel free to post your comments below and share your experiences and how you came to know God cares, then we will find out what happened to Alma. :)

I want to thank you all for your support. I know I probably get much more out this than any of my readers do, but this is something I thoroughly enjoy. I hope some of you get something out of it. I do.

Have a wonderful week, and watch for the tender mercies of the Lord. Until next time!

-Sister Allen:)

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Why She Read The Book of Mormon

Hi I'm Brooke, and I'm so excited that Sister Allen invited me to be a guest on her blog today! I'm a member of the ward that she is serving in- or congregation, if you aren't a Latter-Day Saint and so the word ward only means "mental hospital" to you. :) 

I thought that since Sister Allen is always sharing stories from The Book of Mormon on here, that today I would talk about why I read it. 

As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, we talk a lot about The Book of Mormon. Like, a whole lot. And we try to explain to those not of our faith just how powerful and life-changing it is. I gave a copy of it to someone a few weeks ago and I told him that reading it every day has changed my life. And it has. 
But sometimes I wonder if maybe people don't really understand why that is. 
I know I didn't always. 

I think that maybe for someone who's never read it and has no idea what it's about, when they get a Book of Mormon and are told what an amazing thing it will be for them, they might then open it up to the first page and read "I, Nephi, having been born of goodly parents...." and then think, "Wait, what?" 
Because sometimes I wonder if people are expecting something different. Like the mysteries of God laid out in plain view from page one. And I think that sometimes even those of us who grow up in the church don't always get it. After all the hype, we want to crack open the cover and see light pouring out but instead what we get is much more subtle. 

But what I've learned is that that is part of it's beauty. 

Because the mysteries of God ARE there.
And things I never thought I could know about the Savior's Atonement and His great love for me, are all there. 
But in order to find them, I have to be looking. I have to read it every day with the intention of being taught. And I'm taught through the lives of other people, who's lives on this earth happened long before mine, but who were just as real as I am. And by reading about their lives, and their struggles, and their faith in Jesus Christ, I learn so much about my own life. Because even though their lives looked different than mine, so much about them is the same. And by trying to learn from their mistakes, and strengthen my faith by remembering theirs, I become better. I'm stronger. I'm happier. And I feel a security about my life that I wouldn't have otherwise. 

Right on its cover The Book of Mormon says "Another Testament of Jesus Christ". And I have come to know that that's exactly what it is. My very favorite Book of Mormon scripture is Jacob 4:4, because one day when I read it, after reading it countless times throughout my life and never really noticing it before, it hit me that the things I was reading about really did happen. The people who wrote this book really did live, and they wrote about their experiences and the things that they knew, so that someday others could read it and know those same things. 
The scripture says "For, for this intent have we written these things, that they may know that we knew of Christ, and we had a hope of his glory many hundred years before his coming; and not only we ourselves had a hope of his glory, but also all the holy prophets which were before us." -Jacob 4:4

I know that this book exists to bring us closer to Christ. That God commanded prophets on this side of the world to write what they knew about Jesus Christ, just like He commanded the prophets of the Bible to write. And the fact that it exists is more proof to me of God's love for us. By reading it I come to know the Savior better, and learn how I can be more like Him. So that someday, as the prophet John in the Bible says, and the prophet Moroni in the Book of Mormon, I will "be like him" and will "see him as he is". 

That's why I read The Book of Mormon. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Very Last Lonely One.

I want to thank my beloved companion, Sister Elliott for her lovely post about her family. :) I appreciate her guest blogging for me:) in a couple of weeks I have asked a sister from our congregation to also guest blog. I find that hearing what others write helps me have a broader prospective. If there is ever something you would like me to write a blog post on, a question you have or something you want to know more about, I would love more ideas and any and all questions.:) Please don't hesitate to ask, this blog is meant to be interactive!

Today I wanted to focus a character named Moroni, no not the Moroni in the last couple of posts, though they are both amazing.:)

I don't know about any of you, but sometimes life gets me feeling down. Even being a missionary, life has its ups and downs. I know that personally this week has been a struggle. (sidenote: missionaries only think about time in a span of weeks because so much happens in a week it feels like a month!) Missionaries have hard days too, the difference is we can't go to our normal "feel better" things. For instance, missionaries can't watch Disney movies. For those of you who know me well, you know this one of my "feel better" things. When we have rough days, we just gotta keep trucking and as my grandma says "put one little footie wootie in front of the other little footie wootie and your little body wadi will follow." A fun saying that has actually helped me get through quite a bit.

When I am feeling alone or sad, I have always been told to go to my scriptures. I want to share with those of you who have ever felt alone or sad, or like you just can't do it anymore, the story of Moroni, the son of Mormon.

The very first verse in Moroni starts like this:

"Now I, Moroni, after having made an end of abridging the account of the people of Jared, I had supposed not to have written more, but I have not as yet perished; and I make not myself known to the Lamanites lest they should destroy me."-Moroni 1:1

In other words, he thought he wouldn't live this long, but since he is still alive he figures he will write some more.

Moroni's father was Mormon, who abridged the Book of Mormon (go figure from its name...) He and his father are descended from the people of the previous posts. After the wars that had been going on, the people had turned their hearts back to God for a time, but ultimately they forsook God and His commandments. After some time of the prophets trying to get them back on the right course, the people became so wicked they began killing all the righteous people until only Mormon, and his son were left.

"For behold, their wars are exceedingly fierce among themselves; and because of their hatred they put to death every Nephite that will not deny the Christ. And I, Moroni, will not deny the Christ; wherefore, I wander whithersoever I can for the safety of mine own life." -Moroni 1:2-3

Talk about lonely.

To make matters worse, Mormon, Moroni's father and only living relative and confident is also killed. So Moroni is completely and totally alone.

However at this hour of his greatest need, and most lonely time, he finds solace in the words of scripture and in the Lord, God.

"Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen." -Moroni 7:48

Throughout the scriptures he shows compete devotion to Christ.

"Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God" -Moroni 10:32

and last but not least, his very last words to us are:

"And now I bid unto all, farewell. I soon go to rest in the paradise of God, until my spirit and body shall again reunite, and I am brought forth triumphant through the air, to meet you before the pleasing bar of the great Jehovah, the Eternal Judge of both quick and dead. Amen"- Moroni 10:34

Moroni cannot be saddened by the things that happen in this life, because he knows what awaits him at the end of this life. He knows that he has been a good and faithful servant.

I try to remember when the ways of the world make me sad, that I can rise above. I am a daughter of God and I have a divine heritage. I know that if I do my best in this life, it will be for my good in the life to come. At the end of my life, I wish also to say in the words of Moroni, " I soon go to rest in the paradise of God, until my spirit and body shall again reunite, and I am brought forth triumphant through the air, to meet you before the pleasing bar of the great Jehovah, the Eternal Judge of both quick and dead. Amen"

I know we all can, and I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

GUEST BLOGGER: Bonds that can never be broken

Well, hello all! This is Sister Elliott and today Sister Allen has asked me to share some of my thoughts with y'all.

Sister Allen is an amazing storyteller, so I would not even want to attempt to continue where she left off in the ongoing saga that is the Book of Mormon. Quite simply, I will do my own thing and talk about something very near and dear to my heart.....my family.

This seems like somewhat of an odd topic, but I swear that there is relevance.

Now, my family. Honestly I could talk about them for hours on end, I really could. However, I will keep it fairly short and condensed for times sake.

I am the 4th of 7 kids. Yup, I come from one of those huge Mormon families you hear about. I have a mom a dad, 3 brothers and 3 sisters, a brother-on-law, a sister-in-law, 3 nephews, 4 nieces (with a 5th due in September), two cats and a dog. It gets pretty crazy when we are all together. But, looking back, I wouldn't change it for anything in the world.

I was the youngest child for the first 6 years of my life. Life was great being the youngest, honestly, it was pretty much perfect in my eyes, but my parents told us that a new baby was going to be joining our family....a few months later we got a surprise and found out my mom was having twins! God seriously has a sense of humor :) I went from being the baby, to having two new babies around. Needless to say, I was not completely over joyed with this change in the status quo. This change was to be compounded when my baby sister was born 2.5 years later.

After that, all the attention was on my younger siblings (who needed help) or my older siblings (who were getting involved in high school things), I was pretty much left to my own devices. Some days it was fun, but more often than not it was lonely. I'll be honest and say I hated growing up in a big family, I didn't like having all those siblings.

When I was in high school our family started getting bigger. My older siblings were moving out of the house, getting married and having children. Now, this was all good, since that meant I was given the title of "Auntie" and got to do all the fun things that go with that (yeah, I am one of those cool, fun aunts). Now, this meant I was the oldest at home, which was fine, but it just meant everything was that much more crazy. At times it was overwhelming, but good.

I went away to college and didn't really miss anyone. I actually would get in trouble for not calling home and letting my parents know I was alive (on average it was about 3-4 weeks between calls). I stayed out at college for almost 2 years straight (I came home for about 2 weeks at Christmastime), and still didn't quite miss everyone. However, as I drove home for the summer, I started getting excited as I started recognizing my surroundings. The closer I got to home and my family the worse my lead foot got ;) 

My time away from my family taught me a lot of things. One of the most important was that I truly loved my family. I loved them and missed them and being away from them was hard. As a child I may not have liked having all those siblings, but as an adult I wouldn't want to have been raised in any other environment.

But the most important thing I learned was how blessed I am to have the knowledge that my family is an eternal family, I can and will be with them through the eternities; death will not separate us.

Ecclesiastes 3:14 says:
"I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be forever"

As a member of the LDS church, I am blessed with the knowledge that this includes marriage and families. Peter was given the power to seal things on earth and in heaven, as was Elijah and Nephi. Marriage is ordained of God and is one of those things that can be sealed on earth and in heaven.

Such wonderous knowledge this is. It does not have to be "till death do us part". Instead it can and ought to be "for time and all eternity". This kind of marriage, an eternal marriage in the temple is what my parents have. Because of this I know that because of the sealing power, which has been restored to the earth, I will live with my family again. I will someday be sealed to a man for time and all eternity and together we will have the opportunity of having an eternal family, never to be torn asunder by death.

In the temple we are able to make bonds that are truly unbreakable. This is the future I want, the one I know I will be able to have. The family I currently have, and the one I someday will have, the family I love so much will always be mine.

"I have a family here on earth
They are so good to me
I want to share my life with them through all

Families can be together forever
Through Heavenly Father's plan
I always want to be with my own family
And the Lord has shown me how I can
The Lord has shown me how I can

While I am in my early years
I'll prepare most carefully
So I can marry in God's temple for eternity

Families can be together forever
Through Heavenly Father's plan
I always want to be with my own family
And the Lord has shown me how I can
The Lord has shown me how I can

"Families can be together forever" Children's songbook pg 188

I know that I can and will be with my family forever, and it is something that God wants for all of His children. He does not want us to be singular and alone. We were sent here in families and in families is how He wants us to be through the eternities.  I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

The Seattle Washington temple, where my parents were sealed for time and all eternity :)

Monday, June 23, 2014

To Error is Human,To Forgive is Divine.

This story in the Book of Mormon is one of the most courageous stories of forgiveness that I have yet to see in the Book of Mormon. I believe that when we read our scriptures, we tend to see these people as characters in a movie or book, which they are in a way, but we forget these were real people. These were mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters just like ourselves. They may not have fought the same foes that we do today, but they were real people struggling with real problems.

The stories from the past blog posts I have done are in a sequence of events. At the point that I am at now in the Book of Mormon, the Nephites (the good ones who follow God, keep up with me!) are in great need of reinforcements. Helaman has fought the wars with his little band of young men who did fight valiantly, but now is in need of troops. They have fought long and hard and now they need help. So Helaman tells Moroni, who writes an epistle to Pahoran to tell him, they are need in some reinforcements and could you please help out with that since you are the governor and all?

A fair question, and really it should be quite easy to help out, but time goes on and Helaman's troops receive no support and are doing badly. Well I have tried to give you a good description of Moroni's personality. For those of you who are keeping up, this kind of thing makes him rather angry. So he of course writes another epistle which goes something like this: (remember this is sent to Pahoran the governor)

(In the words of Sister Allen, Alma 60, the entire chapter paraphrased.)

"Pahoran, I am really upset with you! You would think that while Helaman and I are out here defending our country and trying to help our people we could get a little support. But no, y'all are just chillin' up there sitting on your thrones. you have really neglected us when we needed your help! Do you think that God will help us to win this war if we just wait and sit on our thrones? I am scared for you when the judgments of God come upon you. I am Moroni, I don't seek power, but seek for freedom." (for the longer extended version check out Alma 60)

So this was in essence a pretty rough letter! If I were Pahoran, my feelings would be hurt, I would be angry, I would probably be a little defensive. Haven't we all been there? I know I have felt that way before. Someone tries to tell me I am doing my job wrong or seeks to correct me.

*Especially if I feel I am in the right. Because what Moroni doesn't know is the other side of the story.

This is Pahoran's answer to Moroni:

"I, Pahoran, who am the chief governor of this land, do send these words unto Moroni, the chief captain over the army. Behold, I say unto you, Moroni, that I do not joy in your great afflictions, yea, it grieves my soul. But behold, there are those who do joy in your afflictions, yea, insomuch that they have risen up in rebellion against me, and also those of my people who are freemen, yea, and those who have risen up are exceedingly numerous. And it is those who have sought to take away the judgment-seat from me that have been the cause of this great iniquity; for they have used great flattery, and they have led away the hearts of many people, which will be the cause of sore affliction among us; they have withheld our provisions, and have daunted our freemen that they have not come unto you." Alma 61: 1-3 (Not paraphrased, couldn't do it justice.)

Ouch. If I were the one on the receiving end of that letter....Pahoran could have chose to be angry. Honestly he could have. He had really good reasons for not supporting Moroni, HE GOT KICKED OUT. Yet, being a humble man of God, he takes it and says, "it grieves me" He not only forgives Moroni but shows such love and compassion for a fellow man of God.

Why can we all not be like that? What is it in our natures that causes us to take offence and to be greedy and resentful? This isn't a rhetorical question, I'd love to hear some thoughts on it. Post on here and I'd love to talk about it with you, because I want to know how I can be more like the Savior, to not take offense. To love them that spitefully use me. To turn the other cheek. We have been given scripture that shares with us, real life examples on how we can handle our own life trials. Do we take advantage of that?

I want to bear testimony to anyone who read this blog that I believe in the Savior Jesus Christ. I know He lives and I know that He suffered for me and has perfect empathy for me. I know as well that the Book of Mormon is Another Testament of Him and His life, and it was given to us for the purpose of bringing us closer to Him.That is why I feel such joy when I read it. I testify to you that I know all these things to be true in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

DON'T FORGET TO CHECK OUT #discoverthebook #searchthebook #livethebook!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

2,000 Stripling Warriors, and Their Mothers.

Everyone who reads this blog, I'd like you to know this one of my absolute favorite stories in the Book of Mormon. The stories I have written about have been building for this particular account.

Meet Helaman.

The whole time these battles have been going on, he has been fighting right along side of Moroni.The difference his people are not doing well, and they are being just slaughtered.

-Now, time for a little back story:) So this whole time, the Nephites have been protecting another group of people named the people of Ammon. These people USED to be Lamanites, but were converted to the gospel. They chose to never lift their weapons of war again and made a covenant of peace to God.

"For they became as righteous people; they did lay down the weapons of their rebellion, that they did not fight against God anymore, neither against any of their brethren. Now, these are they who were converted unto the Lord." Alma 23: 7-8

Amazing people! However their fellow Lamanites were really quite irked that they had converted to the Lord and wanted to live the gospel. So of course...War. They came in and killed so many of them, and because the people of Ammon had made that covenant they would not fight back.

"Now when the people saw that they were coming against them they went out to meet them, and prostrated themselves before them to the earth, and began to call on the name of the Lord; and thus they were in this attitude when the Lamanites began to fall upon them, and began to slay them with the sword. And thus without meeting any resistance, they did slay a thousand and five of them; and we know that they are blessed, for they have gone to dwell with their God." Alma 24: 21-22

Truly these people had so much faith! I don't know that I could do that...I hope I would have that faith but really their testimonies were so strong.

Now the Nephites see the people of Ammon being slaughtered (also sidenote, many of the lamanites that were killing them were so moved by their complete surrender, they joined with them instead of fighting them!) and they cant bear to watch it. So they make a plan and relocate the people to another land near them where they can protect them and watch over them. So that's what they have doing since.

Back story concluded.

Now back to Helaman.

So they have been fighting, they are running out of the people, and the people of Ammon seeing so many of the Nephites die for them, are moved with compassion. To the point where they decide they are going to break their covenant and fight with the Lamanites against the Nephites. BAD IDEA! It is never a good idea to break promises with God. Luckily, the Nephites love them and refuse to let them break their promise. However we still have the problem that everyone is dying and they need more people to fight...

What would you do in this situation?

I know I would probably go find the nearest rock and crawl under it and hide. That would be me. Luckily. Helaman wasn't me:)

Heleman needs an army, and who steps up to the plate?

Letter from Helaman to Moroni:

"My dearly beloved brother, Moroni, as well in the Lord as in the tribulations of our warfare; behold, my beloved brother, I have somewhat to tell you concerning our warfare in this part of the land.
Behold, two thousand of the sons of those men whom Ammon brought down out of the land of Nephi—now ye have known that these were descendants of Laman, who was the eldest son of our father Lehi;
Now I need not rehearse unto you concerning their traditions or their unbelief, for thou knowest concerning all these things—Therefore it sufficeth me that I tell you that two thousand of these young men have taken their weapons of war, and would that I should be their leader; and we have come forth to defend our country." Alma 56: 2-5

Their sons. Their sons who had not made those promises to God were the ones who said in a sense "we will go."

The reason for their courage?

"Now they never had fought, yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them. And they rehearsed unto me the words of their mothers, saying: We do not doubt our mothers knew it." Alma 56: 47-48

Mothers. What power you have. Guys when I write this, I get chills. I hope you do too. I hope you see the amazing courage it took. The courage that came from their faith in the Lord. The faith their mothers taught them.

Now I realize we didn't get to the war stuff yet and your dying to know how the army of basically children did...but your going to have to wait till next week:) just can't give you all the good stuff at once.

Brothers and Sisters, I know that this gospel and the things we are taught are truly the things that matter. In the end it is not the car, job, house, computer, tv, or any of the other material possessions we have. In the end it won't matter. If we were asked to lay it all on the line for the Cause of the Christians, for the one True God, would you be able to do it, or are there things that take priority over God in your life right now?

I love this gospel, and I love my Lord and Savior, and I say these things in his name, Amen.

Next week! don't forget to #searchthebook on facebook!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A good nap, while all your prisoners escape!

Alright, here we are with Moroni, remember him, the good guy:) Moroni and the Nephites have been having some hefty battles and fighting very hard for the cause of their freedom. It is very interesting to note that whenever it mentions in the scriptures the reasons why everyone is fighting this war, it is always due to oppression from one side or the other.

So the leaders of both sides are tired of the fighting, tired of the loss of their brethren and mostly out of men, might, and motivation. So they write epistles to each other. It was kinda like email chat except took much longer and wasn't quite as fun.

So Ammoron( He is the leader of the people who don't believe in God, it used to be Amalikiah, but he was stabbed in the heart with a javelin. Just a heads up) sends his letter to Moroni which says:

"And now it came to pass in the commencement of the twenty and ninth year of the judges, that Ammoron sent unto Moroni desiring that he would exchange prisoners." -Alma 54:1

So yeah, Ammoron keeps it pretty short and simple. That's nice, but he then sent it to Moroni....now that guy is a novelist. Moroni starts him out real slow. He says:

Well actually what he says takes up a good long page and a half in the Book of Mormon, so I will paraphrase. 

"Well Ammoron, I'd like to help you with this whole exchange the prisoner thing, I really would, but you know very well that we're not very well matched against each other. All of our prisoners of yours are all men. We didn't take any of your women or children. However you have many of our women and children. So I'm only going to trade you prisoners if you will trade one family for one man. Also I think you are child of Hell and do not abide by the precepts of God and unless you repent, you are probably going to Hell. I am Moroni, leader of the Nephites." -Paraphrased version of Alma 54:5-15

So obviously the conversation is going quite well at this point. Well this makes Ammoron mad, and he gets really hissy and says he doesn't really need to exchange prisoners, and they are going to keep fighting them, because they believe they are the rightful rulers, and so on and so forth. Plus he was slightly offended that Moroni called him a child of Hell.

After all this, Moroni refuses to exchange prisoners, and comes up with a brilliant plan!

So he makes a search through all his people, finds some of Lamanite decent, send them with wine to the Lamanites fortress, and tell them to lie to the Lamanites. 

He says tell them you escaped from us, and you brought them wine to celebrate:) So they do. 

"And it came to pass that they did take of the wine freely; and it was pleasant to their taste, therefore they took of it more freely; and it was strong, having been prepared in its strength.
And it came to pass they did drink and were merry, and by and by they were all drunken."

Well, morale of the story, Dont Get Drunk On The Job! 

All of the prisoners were given weapons and when the Lamanites woke up, they surrendered:) I'm sure you would too if all your prisoners had all the weapons.

I love this story, not because it is hillarious, although it really is, but because of what it teaches us. We don't ever take the easy way out! You keep your standards high and you fight hard. Like I said last post, we are living in the war zone, the spiritual war zone! We don't give up and arrange to trade prisoners! We keep fighting, and we arm ourselves from within. We do those things that give us power spiritually and that fortify our minds and ready us to take on Satan when he comes and offers us the easy way out.

Brothers and sisters, don't take easy way out! Fight hard! For the Cause of the Christians!

Thank you for you time!

 Next week we
get into some really fun stuff! #Discoverthebook!!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Living in the War Zone

The best adventure you have ever read about, there are treacherous villains, amazing heroes, good versus evil, and of course, some amazingly funny commentary to really hit the spot for a good read.

~The Book of Mormon~ 

There may be those of you who have heard it before and perhaps it didn't have a very good connotation. There are many who have heard about it and heard wrong things and chose to never read it and never find out themselves.

Of course we know the saying. "Don't judge a book by its cover" You have to open it and find out for yourself.

I'm going to take us to the middle of the book, right in the middle of some high packed action!

First off you need to know who the good guys are and the bad guys.

Nephites=good Lamanites=bad
This changes throughout so you gotta keep up with me.
Moroni=good Amalickiah= bad

okay here we go!

Moroni is the captain of the Nephites, and he is a Boss. in the scriptures they describe him this way:

"Yea, verily, verily I say unto you, if all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto Moroni, behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever; yea, the devil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men."- Alma 48:17 (to cite my sources, and in case you wanna check it out:)

How would you like to be described as someone who makes the very powers of Hell shake? I sure would!

Here is how Amalickiah works. He is a terribly tricky little fellow. He really wants to be the king. However, problem, the Lamanites already have a king. Solution? Kill the king and blame someone else. Good plan right? So Amalickiah goes to meet the King and makes the sign of peace, and when the king is about to allow them to come unto him, Amalickiah's servants stab him, and then blame it on the King's servants.

" And it came to pass that Amalickiah commanded that his armies should march forth and see what had happened to the king; and when they had come to the spot, and found the king lying in his gore, Amalickiah pretended to be wroth, and said: Whosoever loved the king, let him go forth, and pursue his servants that they may be slain." -Alma 47:27

Quite a mess.  

Anyway, Moroni is a strategy man. He knows that the Lamanites are coming after his people. So he starts preparing them. This guy knows how to prepare his people for an attack!

" Yea, he had been strengthening the armies of the Nephites, and erecting small forts, or places of resort; throwing up banks of earth round about to enclose his armies, and also building walls of stone to encircle them about, round about their cities and the borders of their lands; yea, all round about the land.
  And in their weakest fortifications he did place the greater number of men; and thus he did fortify and strengthen the land which was possessed by the Nephites.
  And thus he was preparing to support their liberty, their lands, their wives, and their children, and their peace, and that they might live unto the Lord their God, and that they might maintain that which was called by their enemies the cause of Christians." Alma 48:8-10

I love the verbs he uses when talking about how he prepares his people. Strengthening, erecting, throwing up banks of earth, building walls of stone, fortify, preparing, support, and all for the cause of Christians.

I love that. 

Ladies and gentlmen, we live in a war zone. not a physical one like Moroni, though sometimes we do, but a spiritual one. Satan is trying so hard to bring down the souls of the children of God. We have so much to fight for, and so much to fight against. 

Let us rise up in the glorious cause of Christians:)

Tune in next time for some terrific tips on how to lead the bad guys on wild goose chase, and still keep your cities fortified and ready for war! (also you know you wanna find out who won the war....its drawing you in...)

Thank you for your time:)

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Take two!

So as y'all know I have just recently started this blog, and I am not a very gifted writer, but I had some pretty good ideas and I was ready to try out the blog idea. Well, I'm not gonna lie, after my first couple of posts, the excitement left and so did my ideas... Then my last companion sent me to a page on facebook where I found this disturbing quote, which filled me with guilt and regret...

"I'm noticing a trend amongst missionary blogs that makes me a bit concerned. A missionary gets an idea for a blog, and it's brilliant! So they write some posts, maybe even two in one week. They post regularly for a month or so, then they miss a week here and there, then the posts stop coming entirely, like the missionary has forgotten that they have a blog.

The problem in both cases is the same. Becoming an active member and creating a well-established blog is hard work, which sometimes isn't foreseen until the hard times come. The days get busy, the week rushes by, and before you know it, Sunday has come again and you have to make the decision again: Am I going to go to church today or not?

I had the opportunity to meet a blogger called Fat Cyclist, whose blog makes him a bit of money and has given him some fame amongst the cycling world. He did not get to that point by casually posting entries here and there. It might have started out that way, but it took him a lot of work to get to the point where he is today. One of his keys to success is his schedule. He posts on certain days of the week when people are more likely to be reading his blog,and it is the same every single week. (I know it's not Friday or the weekend because fewer people are online at that time.) On top of that, he writes several posts in advance and keeps them in reserve for when he publishes them. He keeps a list of ideas and updates it frequently. He spends a lot of time thinking about his blog."

I confess, I don't spend alot of time thinking about my blog. I do when I get a good idea, and then I write it and post it, and let it sit for a month or so. I have learned on my mission, that the key to success in anything, whether it is a blog, a class, a job, a calling in the church, or even babysitting for a couple of hours is to stick with it! There is not much respect in this world for people who quit. I don't want to be one. 

So with that said my dearly beloved audience of whom may be reading this, I am ready to try again! Hence the name, Take Two. I am here, humbled and ready to try again, and would appreciate any and all help:)

Thank you for the chance to try again:)

Tuesday, April 29, 2014


I started this blog because as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, I am trying to teach people about His gospel. One of the ways I find is a good way to do that, is to share my "Aha" moments, or times I have felt that I have learned something. There is really no rhyme or reason to it. I learn best from others personal experiences, and so that is how I have decided to share and teach:) 

Recently in the mission that I am in, our mission President has put a major focus on the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon for those who are unfamiliar, is a sacred volume of scripture written around the same time as the Bible. It testifies of Christ, and tells the history and spiritual account of the people who dwelt in the Ancient Americas. What our mission President has asked us to do, is to read it in 90 days. I was already reading in it, so I started where I was and decided to go full circle.

 Elder Robert D. Hales said: “When we want to speak to God, we pray. And when we want Him to speak to us, we search the scriptures”(in Conference Report, Oct. 2006, 27)

So without further ado, Sister Allen's Aha Moment!

I was reading in the very first book of Nephi in chapter 14

The very first verse is so powerful!

"And it shall come to pass, that if the Gentiles shall hearken unto the Lamb of God in that day that he shall manifest himself unto them in word, and also in power, in very deed, unto the taking away of their stumbling blocks." -1 Nephi 14:1

What a powerful way to begin a scripture!  

If we will hearken unto God, He will take away our stumbling blocks. Stumbling blocks can be anything from not being able to read the scriptures to having a lack of Faith and belief in God. we all have different stumbling blocks. We all struggle with different things which pull us away from God. Trials we go through that are meant to hedge up the way. We are promised by our loving Heavenly Father, that if we will abide by his precepts, He will take away our stumbling blocks.

I have noticed in my own life, that as I struggle to do the things that God has asked me to do, go to church, read our scriptures, keep the commandments and so forth, that I am far from God. This is not where I want to be. It becomes a stumbling block. I have also come to realize that my stumbling blocks sometimes come from me, and stem from my pride. We know that sometimes God gives us trials to teach us something, and sometimes we create them ourselves by lack of obedience to the commandments He has given us. 

My Aha moment, was realizing that any stumbling block I am presented with, man made, or God made can be made my strength and turned to my good just by showing my faith in God with my actions, words and deeds. 

Even if I feel as though I am struggling, or something hard has been put in my way, as long as I am trying to follow God and continually turn to Him for his guidance, I am hearkening to Him. He will bless me, and turn my stumbling block into a strength.

That was just my little Aha moment, and I know some of you have probably already had this Aha moment and are reading this going, "well yeah." haha that is the great thing about Aha moments with the Book of Mormon. They are personal, and just for you. It is what the spirit of God tells you regardless of what you read. I know as we strive to have these moments, God will bless us with the knowledge and answers to questions we are seeking.

He always does for me.

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.