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President Gordon B. Hinckley, who led The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints through twelve years of global expansion, has died at the age of 97.
President Hinckley was the 15th president in the 177-year history of the Church and had served as its president since 12 March 1995.
Is it weird that I am not saddened?
The President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Gordon B. Hinckley has died at the age of 97.
Being less than a year into this, I can’t say that I’m too affected by it. I have only really heard him speak once during the Semi-Annual General Conference. I enjoyed what he had to say in October and was looking forward to him this April.
I realize the progress this Prophet made for the church during his presidency and admire his works. The world went from 56 to 224 temples? Amazing!
So is it weird that I am not saddened by his passing?
No. I am happy for him! Happy because of the plan of Salvation.
I found out last night when my friend Mike gave me a call. I said a prayer for his family to have peace and comfort. I wasn’t saddened really, just a little surprised. I thought he was kidding around when he said he was hoping to make it to April’s General Conference.
He had lived a great life. I know where he has gone. He is with our Father in Heaven, his wife and his other family. And he will get his reward:
His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. (Matthew 25:21)
I feel spiritually recharged and like I can take anything on. Things are falling into place as if the Lord has prepared a way for me out of my situation.
It was past 11:00pm when I left church.
I felt relieved, with a new energy and my testimony strengthened even more.
I really appreciate my Bishop and the hard work and dedication he has to the ward.
Things seem to be very difficult in my life right now with one thing after another going wrong. I’ve been depressed and stressed out. I admit, I did not want to go to Church on Sunday. The night before, I only had two hours of sleep and it was already 8:15am when I woke up. Sacrament started at 9:00am.
I almost rolled over and went back to bed, but didn’t. I felt I had to be strong, if not for myself than for my children. After an agonizing wait to get everyone ready and loaded into the minivan, we arrived at church. It was 9:30am when we arrived.
It’s a bad feeling when I miss sacrament. Something I used to view lightly when I was growing up in Catholic Church now meant so much to me. It meant that I can start over and wash away anything less than righteous from the week before. I sat in the lobby feeling empty and didn’t even try to enter the chapel.
There I sat for about ten minutes until the thought came in my head: “You can leave church, you missed sacrament anyway.” No, I couldn’t do it – I was already there and I remembered that I DO actually get something out of the other Sunday School and Priesthood Meetings. Besides, the children would learn something new and enjoy their Sabbath day. The last twenty minutes went by easier.
The Sunday School Gospel Essentials lesson was a review on the Second Coming of Christ: The signs of the second coming, the gathering of the house of Israel (the story of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob), the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and the Millennium. And there was one more thing – integrity. Then our teacher started touching points of his experiences at his caucus the day before.
Priesthood Meeting was good. We sang “I am a Child of God” as the opening song and then everyone shared their missionary stories and the bishop talked to us about fulfilling our home teaching. Both ways – meaning that if you had not been contacted by your home teacher, seek them out and get it rolling!
Afterwards, I spotted my home teaching companion and my assigned member and we scheduled an appointment. I had a home teaching appointment with my companion and family at 3:30pm.
After Priesthood Meeting, we went to Elders Quorum where we had an abbreviated lesson on God the Eternal Father and the true nature of the Godhead.
I left for home feeling like I didn’t really get anything out of Church and that my Sabbath day was wasting away.
I napped from 12:30pm until about 1:30pm and then I could not get back to sleep. I searched for and pulled out my unopened January issue of Ensign and began to read the First Presidency message to see what I would teach my family. I read it and thought I was ready to go.
My home teaching companion finally came and he met me at my house. We walked down the street to the family’s home and walked in. He saw that I had my Ensign and he was excited and he left his in the car. After some small talk, we began our lesson with my giving the invocation prayer. My companion offered me the lead and I refused. He kindly took the lead and delivered it like a professional.
After he had done his part and gone through the lesson about how Jesus Christ built bridges, I finally added in my two cent about how Obedience, Service and Prayer has helped me in the past year. There was some more small talk and then my companion gave the benediction prayer and we left. I felt enlightened and really took something away from my time at their home.
My companion and I was walking back to his car when he asked what seemed to be a routine question.
What can I do for you?
Usually I am prideful or embarrassed so I give the routine response back, “Oh nothing, we’re doing fine.” Not this time, something came over me and I humbled myself and told him.
I told him about my problems and he counseled me.
My first problem was about my expensive plumbing issues with my house. It turned out he has ownership in a plumbing company so he said he would help me.
“That’s nothing” he said, “piece of cake, if I can I’ll do the work for you and eat the cost.” He then asked again, “What else?” I hesitated for a second and then I humbled myself and continued.”
My second issue was about my mortgage situation. My ARM adjusting for the 3rd time and my payment going ridiculously high. How high? So high I could be living in a house three times the size of the one I have now.
He told me I should talk to the Bishop, if the plans that I have to fix things do not go through, perhaps it can be arranged that someone who is a mortgage expert in the stake can help me. He told me to make an appointment with the bishop.
“This is easy” he said.
“Everyone in our ward is here when you need us, this can be taken care of.”
He then looked at me again and asked me again, “What else?” My heart lightened and then continued again about another issue that has been weighing on me.
My third issue we discussed as well and he again gave me some advice and suggested that I talk to the bishop about it.
My meekness was now obvious and then he asked me again. “What else?” I replied “Nothing else.” He smiled and we talked for a while more. We then were going to part ways and instead of a shake he gives me a hug. It was just what I needed.
I really appreciate him and I hope I can somehow convey that fact and help him one day.
What else good can come from doing home teaching?
Having a home teacher!
At 6:00pm we had a dinner and family home evening scheduled at my new home teacher’s house. I am glad that we went and that they took time out to visit with us. It was very fun and we got along very well since were all pretty similar in age. It also helped that they have very loud boys as well and we felt right at home.
I really appreciate my home teacher as well, with everything he has done for us. We were on the subject of large families and I cannot forget what he said to me.
“Family is the only thing you can take with you.”
When dinner was over (it was a very good one) and it was time for Family Home Evening, he began and showed me how it was done. All the boys in the room lasted less than five minutes and then the lesson was done. I actually relieved to see it doesn’t last long for him either.
After about three very fun hours at their house we left and went back home.
When we got home I realized that I only had a total of three hours of sleep.
I quickly fell asleep feeling satisfied, content and at peace.
I can say that not giving up faith, being obedient, service, prayer and being meek do have its rewards.
Thank you, Heavenly Father.
After my friend Mike came back from his mission, we ended up working at the same company and he would share bits and pieces of the LDS Church beliefs with me. I remember sitting in my office over three years ago when my friend Mike started talking about a book that he borrowed and read.
Before he even started speaking I began to have what I described at the time as just cold chills, now that I look back it was more like the spirit talking to me. I was extremely excited to hear about the book he had just read and I knew I just HAD to read it.
The name of the book is called There Is No Death: The Extraordinary True Experience by Sarah Lanelle Menet.
I believe I read all 128 pages TWICE in one weekend, both times in one sitting. I usually don’t do that, but this book has something to it.
This is a story about a women that had a sad and abusive childhood. After attempting to commit suicide due, she leaves her body and enters the spirit world learning much about the beauty and peace that follow this life for those that have lived good lives. She then visits ‘hell’ where her abusive father resided. She learns about forgiveness and the importance of it in our lives. She returns to her body and tells her story after keeping it to herself for several years.
Menet answers many questions in her writings, such as:
- Why we are here on earth?
- What Deja Vu is?
- Why do bad things happen to good people?
- Where we lived before being born?
- What happens to us when we die and the degrees of heaven?
- Who are guardian angels?
- What is the basis of people claiming reincarnation?
The book does a few dark topics such as events that have happened (and haven’t happened) which will lead up to Armageddon and the return of Jesus Christ to Earth. However, the the positives in her book greatly outweigh the negatives.
One more note that I’d like to add – At the time of reading the book, I did not know she was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints until the very end. Also, she was not a member when she had her experiences as well. She later found that the teachings of the Church matched what she had saw during her experience.
This book definitely had an impact on my life. I recommend this book to everyone, whether you are: an Investigator, a recent convert or a long-time member.
I’m not a very heavy football fan but wanted to share something funny I heard a few weeks ago.
The Las Vegas Bowl Game 2007 ended the score of BYU 17; UCLA 16.
The teacher in my gospel principles class pointed out that there was someone holding up a sign that read: “Alma 18:27″ when BYU scored.
Looking that up in the Book of Mormon, that verse reads:
And he said, Yea. (Alma 18:27)
Just a little observation that I’d like to point out in fun.
Is it safe to say that Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Crackers is the official unofficial snack of LDS Families?
- At every LDS Family’s house I’ve visited, they have Goldfish Crackers.
- For almost every sacrament meeting that I’ve been to, I see little children sitting quietly with their plastic zip lock baggy of Goldfish Crackers. I’ve tried it on my little boys this Sunday and it seems to have worked very well at keeping them quiet!
- The Cheddar Goldfish Crackers are so, so good.
I’ve come across an important message in Alma chapter 34, taught by Amulek, son of Alma, in the Book of Mormon a few times while studying in the past nine months since.
The gist of the message is: Do not procrastinate!
Don’t put things off that you can do today, for tomorrow. Especially for things of a spiritual matter.
For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors.
And now, as I said unto you before, as ye have had so many witnesses, therefore, I beseech of you that ye do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end; for after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, behold, if we do not improve our time while in this life, then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed.
Ye cannot say, when ye are brought to that awful crisis, that I will repent, that I will return to my God. Nay, ye cannot say this; for that same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world. (Alma 34:32-34)
We came to Earth to obtain a body so that we may learn to control it and display obedience to Heavenly Father. Doing so during this probationary period prepares us for the blessings to come: Living with Heavenly Father and receiving all that he hath.
One who is not aligned with the Gospel can start changing today and should not wait for tomorrow. How do you change? Salvation comes by taking advantage of the atonement of Jesus Christ, repenting of your sins and obeying the commandments and living gospel.
In the preceding verses, the day is our life on Earth. Our labor is works that show our faith and obedience. Night is when we die. The state of your spirit, whether it be dirty or clean, becomes its permanent state after death. Who wants a dingy spirit in their perfect and brand new body? Labor cannot be performed after death. How can you show faith or obedience when you know you’ve already died and still exist?
This is why we must live righteous every single day. We do not know what day will be our last.
And what if you live good for your whole life and then so happen to pass away during an off day or off week?
What if you put off your labors until night?
That didn’t seem right to me.
I remember my missionaries answering that the labor can still be done, it will just be more difficult. Things that take ten minutes to do with a body may take ten years without one.
The severity can be seen by a scenario setup by my missionaries:
Take for example smoking. What happens if you’re a regular smoker and don’t have a cigarette for a day? You begin to crave it. If you don’t kick the habit of smoking in this life, imaging having cravings for a cigarette when you do not have a body? If it takes you one month to quit smoking in this life, it may take you one hundred years!
The Official Church Newsroom released the following press release a few days ago: Video Challenges Public Misperceptions, Explains Myths vs. Reality
The Church had produced a ten minute video originally for journalists visiting Salt Lake City for the 2002 Winter Olympics. It was reposted in the Church Newsroom as well as YouTube today to help counter the constant myths about the Church.
- Church Openness
- Whether Church Members are Christian
Last night, while leaving a restaurant I was carrying my youngest to our minivan while I walked past a beggar. He was sitting on the curb and looked up at me and said “Sir?”
In the past I would ignore these people as if they did not exist three out of four times. I am sorry to say that I did just that as I walked by. The fact that I ignored him was a reflex move.
As I ignored him I started to feel that I shouldn’t have. Was that the spirit prompting me?
As I walked closer to my minivan – I thought in my mind that I have to go back. I had read scripture on this and it is now ringing in my ear.
I put my little boy into his car seat, packed up and we started to drive away. As we drove I started to console with my wife:
“I should go back there and help him.”
She, who has exampled charity many times since I’ve met her, told me that if I felt I should, then I should.
My wife pulled back up to him and I rolled down the window and asked him if he’s hungry. He nodded his head yes.
I hopped out of the car and asked him to follow me in and I will buy him something. He didn’t want to.
“I can’t, I’m eight-sixed” he said.
I replied, “That’s OK, tell me what you want to eat and I’ll bring it to you.”
He put his head down and shook his head no.
“Can you just give me some money?”
“No” I said, “I don’t give money out but I will feed you if you are hungry.”
He said “nevermind.”
I asked him “are you sure?”
He nodded yes.
I went back into our minivan and then we drove off.
The scripture that I had read was of what Jesus Christ taught:
Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. (Matthew 25:34-40)
I am wondering, should I have given him money?
He was hungered and I offered to feed him. My reasoning behind not doing so is so he doesn’t use it for things that would not help him.