Why We Ask Questions

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

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:)