Sunday, January 27, 2013

We are at WAR!

I know, what a happy title, right?  In the Book of Mormon, there are more than twenty consecutive chapters about the battles between two groups of people: the Nephites, who are very righteous and try to keep and follow the commandments of God, and the Lamanites, who are very wicked and want to destroy the Nephites. 
A lot of people just try to make it through the war chapters because it can feel boring and a little repetitive.  However, there is a reason they were included.  A prophet named Mormon compiled the Book of Mormon by abridging the records of the people living in the Americas before, during and after the time of Christ.  He included what would be most beneficial to us in our day. 
But why did he include so many chapters about war and bloodshed?  How does this apply to us? Most of us probably aren’t going to be accosted by a Lamanite in a loincloth.  Most of us aren’t going to have to fight in bloody battle after battle.  Why should it matter?
Because we are at war.
We’re engaged in a war that we can’t see.
We are in the midst of a spiritual battle.  It’s all of us against the devil.  The Lamanites wanted to take the Nephites into bondage and take away their agency, or their freedom to make choices, just as the devil wants to do to us today.  Satan is miserable, and misery loves company.  He wants us to miserable, just like him.  Through these chapters, Mormon gives us an analogy that we can use to know how to prepare for the fight against the devil. 
Well, if we’re at war, what do we need to do to prepare to fight Satan?  At the beginning of this section, the Nephites prepare for battle by putting on their armor and readying their weapons.  We need to do the same by putting on our spiritual armor and sharpening our spiritual swords.  We can do this by reading and studying the scriptures, say our daily prayers, and always remember Christ and do our best to follow Him.  Rely on the Lord.  By giving us the gospel of Christ to live and follow, God has given us the armor we need to stay protected, but it’s our choice whether or not we actually put it on. 
One thing that we say frequently in our church is CTR, or Choose The Right.  It’s sort of like WWJD (What Would Jesus Do).  But sometimes we mess up.  When that happens, we should go in spiritual reverse and do our best to Right The Choice, and Return To Christ.  We already know who’s going to win the war.  Good will always triumph.  As with Elisha, they that be with us are more than they that be with them.  But it’s our choice whether we put on our armor and fight on the Lord’s side. 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Egg-less Cookie Dough-Just for fun!

Yes, I am a Pinterest fan. I found this recipe for Egg-less cookie. Not for baking, just for eating. I thought I would give it a shot this past weekend. I always love eating the cookie dough when I make cookies, but this way I don't get sick :)

Egg-less Cookie Dough
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup milk
1 cup flour
Pinch salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips

In a medium bowl, mix together the brown sugar and butter until smooth. Stir in vanilla and milk. Mix in the flour, salt, and chocolate chips until well blended. Chill in the refrigerator.

It's a little wet at first, so sticking it in the fridge gives it a better texture. Or if you're way more patient than I am, you can stick it in the freezer for a few hours. This was super easy, yummy, and a fun treat that me and my roommates all loved! 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Jesus Christ as the Center of our Lives

I love the Book of Mormon.  The Book of Mormon is another testament of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  It serves as a record of the people here in the Americas before, during, and after the time of Christ and as a sort of companion to the Bible.
There is one chapter that I have become very fond of.  Alma, one of the leaders of Christ's church, is talking with his son Helaman.  Alma had a bit of a rough start and he talks with his son about his past and how through Christ, Alma was able to turn his life around.
During his youth, Alma and his friends fought against the church, trying to lead the people to do bad things.  One day, Alma and his friends were visited by an angel who told them that what they were doing was wrong and they needed to turn their lives around.  Alma was then unconscious for three days.  During this period, he felt incredible guilt for the terrible things he had done.  At the end of the third day, Alma remembered that his father who was the leader of the church at this time had taught him about Jesus Christ and that He is the Savior and Redeemer of the world.  With this thought, he cried within himself for Christ to have mercy on him so he could be released from such guilt and pain.  He was instantly released from his pains and he felt such great joy and love for his Savior.
In this chapter, Alma is recounting this experience to his son Helaman.  He uses a technique called chiasmus, where something he said will be repeated or rephrased at another point in the chapter.  It works like this:

The pattern can extend as long as you like.  The letters that are prime show that the statement makes the same point, but it might be rephrased.  Because statement C is in the middle, it becomes the main and most important point.  Now, in this chapter, Alma recounts the pain and anguish he experienced because of his sins.  In the middle of the chapter, he mentions that he turned to Christ, who relieved him of his pain.  After that point, Alma describes his joys and desire to then serve the Lord and bring people to repentance.  Christ is literally at the center of this chapter, just as he should be in our lives.  There is hope for everyone!  There's isn't a place that you can go where the light of the Atonement isn't able to reach you and help you out.  The Savior loves you very much.  Turn to the Savior and be rid of your guilt and pain.  As the nursery rhyme goes:
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall
All the King's horses
And all the King's men
Couldn't put Humpty together again

But, as my BYU Book of Mormon professor added:

But the King can.
And the King will.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

I hope they call me on a mission...

Well, I'm sorry this post is a little bit long, but something quite incredible has just happened.  Today I've been thinking a lot about going on a mission, especially with so many of my friends getting their calls yesterday.  I've been feeling like my testimony isn't as strong as I would like it to be and I have been really doubting myself and whether or not I should serve, whether I was worthy enough, and if I could truly recognize a spiritual prompting when I received one.  Then besides that, I wasn't sure when I would serve because if I were to go right after this winter semester, I would need to get my papers in as soon as possible, but I currently have a grant to help pay for school, which wouldn't be here when I got back.
I started out with a prayer, asking my Heavenly Father to help my testimony to grow, calm me, and to help me know if a mission really was the right thing for me.  I decided to turn to my scriptures and my patriarchal blessing.  In my blessing, it mentions that I'm from the tribe of Ephraim, and as such, part of my responsibilities are to help Heavenly Father's children through missionary and temple work.  As I stared at the word "missionary," I remembered my dad showing me a scripture when I was talking to him about a mission. Doctrine and Covenants 4:3 says "Therefore, if ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work."  I knew that I had a desire, but I was still unsure of myself.  I noticed on the word "called" that there was a footnote.  I looked at the list of scriptures by that little letter for a minute, but one stood out to me.  Doctrine and Covenants 11:4.
I turned to section 11 and read "Yea, whosoever will thrust in his sickle and reap, the same is called of God."  This sounded like it was about missionary work, just like section 4, so I felt like I should start from the beginning and see what the section had to say.
It was like it was written directly to me.  Starting in verse 6, "Now, as you have asked, behold, I say unto you, keep my commandments, and seek to bring forth and establish the cause of Zion."  Then verses 8-9," Verily, verily, I say unto you, even as you desire of me so it shall be done unto you; and, if you desire, you shall be the means of doing much good in this generation.  Say nothing but repentance unto this generation.  Keep my commandments, and assist to bring forth my work, according to my commandments, and you shall be blessed."  When I came to verses 15-16, it said, "Behold, I command you that you need not suppose that you are called to preach until you are called.  Wait a little longer, until you shall have my word, my rock, my church, and my gospel, that you may know of a surety my doctrine." Finally, in verse 26, " Therefore, treasure up in your heart until the time which is in my wisdom that you shall go forth."
Everything that was on my mind was answered in one little section of 30 verses!  I have never had a huge, unbelievably spiritual experience before, but this was like my own personal miracle.  I'm so thankful that the Lord has heard my prayers!  I know that if you are seeking an answer from the Lord, it will come in time.  Faith is a principle of action.  You must do something!  Hopefully this will be helpful to someone out there who might be struggling or questioning.  Just keep the commandments and keep on trying to do what's right.  Try a little harder to be a little better :)

Monday, January 14, 2013

Alma 30-32

Our first class of the semester was about Korihor in Alma 30.  At the beginning of the chapter, it says that they tried to keep the commandments and had continual peace in the land for several years. But in verse 6, trials came despite their righteousness.  Sometimes the Lord will send us problems and trials, even though we're already living righteously.  But I know that the Lord won't give us anything above what we can handle.  We don't always know why the trials come, and we may never will, but they do.  The Lord wants to strengthen us and help us to grow.  Although it's hard for me to think so during one, I am grateful for trials because they have taught me lessons that I needed to learn.  
We also talked about Alma 32, which is all about faith.  I really liked this lesson because I have been wanting to strengthen my testimony, especially now that I'm planning on going on a mission.  This chapter has helped me to understand exactly what I need to do.  Verse 27 was what I needed to hear.  It says, "But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words."  Having a desire to gain a testimony is the first step.  Then, you must act.  Say your prayers, really study your scriptures, go to church not to be entertained, but to learn and be spiritually uplifted.  Faith is a principle of action.  If you want to gain a testimony, it will take work on your part, but I know the Lord will reward you for your efforts.  You are His child and He loves you more than you know :)

Well hello!

Welcome! This is my lovely new blog. Isn't it fun?? I'm currently in a Book of Mormon class down here at BYU and as part of that, I need to find ways to share my testimony and thoughts about what we learn with people. I'd been thinking about starting a blog anyways, just for fun, so here I am! I'll share other fun goings-on in my life as well and you may read and enjoy my dorkiness as you please :)