Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Way I Read the Word of God

     I have been absolutely amazed at the power of reading scriptures.  But I don't
mean simply nonchalantly reading, as one would read a novel.  Don’t get me wrong; reading them at all is better than not doing so.  However I must say that lately I think I found my niche with the scriptures!   A routine going along with it that simply makes me crave more.

     It started out like this:  writing is a medium that seems to influence my brain profoundly, so I figured that somehow I could incorporate writing and scripture reading together.  I read a chapter in the Book of Mormon, or the Bible and I find a quote associated with it from lds.org or scriptures.byu.edu (excellent sources for finding inspired words of prophets).  I look for quotes that directly relate to what I just read.  Then I write my favorite quote (or favorite’s) in the margins of my scriptures.  Yes, I have to write extremely small!  

Aren't God's creations amazing!?
     Sometimes it takes me a half hour reading through different quotes to find my favorite, but meanwhile I am amazed at how enlightened I feel about the scripture chapter I just read.  Often times I find myself thinking “Oh!  That is what that means!”   I have occasionally found myself moved to tears as I feel the spirit touch me.  I am also enlightened to see how the passages correlate with my personal life.  

                     How do you study scriptures?  What helps you to absorb the words and feel the spirit?  If there is anything I have learned in this process it is to do whatever you need to do to feel the spirit from scripture study, not just read them.  I have seen a direct correlation with blessings in my life to this diligent study and receiving of the spirit each day.   

Thank you for sharing in my flow of thoughts.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Thoughts on Ordain Women

I would like to share my thoughts about the ordain women movement, which I understand is a risky endeavor, because I know that it is a 'hot' topic, so to speak.  I do not wish to cause contention or frustration. I only wish to predominantly share what the prophet's are saying and have said pertaining to the subject.

I will also start with this, and this is what it really comes down to:  Is what the prophet's are saying words of God?  If what they are saying is of God, isn't that good?
Amos 3:7  "Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets."  
There is an order here that was established from the very beginning of the earth and that is that God's doctrine would be revealed to us through his prophets.  Heavenly Father will assure us personally if a prophet is really called of God, by means of prayer.
Moroni 10: 3-5  "Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would  remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.  And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true;  and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.  And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things." 
I have experienced the reality of that scripture.  It seems to me it is nothing short of God's prescribed test for finding truth.

So, if I were to protest in anyway against anything, that the church is teaching, I would  also be protesting against the authenticity of it's proclaimed authority of God.  Therefore I would be questioning God.  In other words, I would be either choosing that their words are not of God, or if I affirmed that they were of God, I would be choosing to disobey.

It's really that simple.

I think that so many of us have times when we question what the prophets are saying.  There are certainly times when things they say may 'rub us the wrong way'.  Well, is it not the ultimate point of the gospel to submit our will to God?  God's will be done, not ours.  I know it's not always easy, but Jesus Christ has promised us eternal blessings for following Him and His appointed servants.
John 14:6  Jesus Saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
Perhaps as you are reading this, you feel it is wrong for women to not have the priesthood.  Perhaps you feel inferior in the church, or that it is unfair that a women would not have the position of prophet.  It's okay, if you struggle with this concept.  Your thoughts matter just as much as anyone else's.  I again ask the question though, is it of God?  Are the prophets today receiving revelation from God about the subject of priesthood, or the roles of men and women?  And if they are receiving revelation from God, isn't that the right thing? Isn't that right even if it's not what we want it to be?

Sometimes it requires faith (well, often) to remember that God's ways are always good and right.

I share my strong love and understanding that God's ways are always good and right, even when they don't seem to be at first.  Whenever I have been patient and sought for Heavenly Father's understanding about what the prophets have said, He has helped me to understand His purposes in a more perfect way.  He has lead me to answers, lead me to truth.

One of the apostles, Elder Dallin H. Oaks (click on his name for the full speech. Ponder what he says, it will give a better understanding of where the church stands about this movement) said some comforting words on the subject that, I believe, help us to have the Lords perspective.  He actually said these words during the same time that the ordain women group intended to meet.  I feel it shows the Lord's awareness of his beloved daughters and their concerns:
At this conference we have seen the release of some faithful brothers, and we have sustained the callings of others.  In this rotation- so familiar in the Church - we do not "step down" when we are released, and we do not "step up" when we are called.  There is no "up or down" in the service of the Lord. There is only "forward or backward," and that difference depends on how we accept and act upon our releases and our callings."  
The world tends to look at outward achievements as being successful, such as positions held (such as religious positions).  But this in not how the Lord see's us.  He desires for us to be obedient.  He is revealing his 'secrets to his servants the prophets' of how to be obedient.
1 Samuel 16:7 "But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him:  for the Lord seeth not as a man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart."  
The Lord revealed this to the prophet Joseph Smith:
Doctrine and Covenants 1: 38 "Search these commandments, for they are true and faithful, and the prophecies and promises which are in them shall all be fulfilled.  What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.  For behold, and lo, the Lord is God, and the Spirit beareth record, and the record is true, and the truth abideth forever and ever.  Amen."  
It is my invitation to all who feel discontented on this subject, whether a member of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, or not, to try the words of the Lord for yourself.  Take that leap of faith in following the words of the prophets to see if they are of God.  Pray and ask Heavenly Father if it be right, and good, or of Him.

As far as I understand John Chapter 7, it talks about people going to a feast which apparently Jesus was invited to.  Before he came the Jews where looking for him and asking where he was.  While they were waiting people started talking about him behind his back.  Some said Jesus was a good man, others said he deceives people.  It says that "out of the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and taught"  The Jews wondered how he could be so smart without having really learned (perhaps this pertained to some form of secular learning at the time)  and this was Jesus' reply:
John 7: 17 "My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.  If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether  I speak of myself."
My point in sharing that story is that similar arguments happened clear back when Jesus was on the earth, as they do now.  Although the subject is not specifically ordain women in the bible these men, in essence, were doing the same thing by questioning Christ's authority.   Jesus Christ's response still applies today.

Thank you for sharing in my thoughts.