Why We Ask Questions

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

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 :)