Thursday, January 29, 2015

Why you need a testimony of the Book of Mormon, and you think you could write this?

This morning in seminary I taught D&C 84, where the Lord says the Church was under condemnation because they treated the Book of Mormon lightly.

Here's what President Ezra Taft Benson said about that. 

President Ezra Taft Benson
“Do eternal consequences rest upon our response to this book? Yes, either to our blessing or to our condemnation.Every Latter-day Saint should make the study of this book a lifetime pursuit. Otherwise, he is placing his soul in jeopardy and neglecting that which could give spiritual and intellectual unity to his whole life. There is a difference between a convert who is built on the rock of Christ through the Book of Mormon and stays hold of that iron rod, and one who does not” (“The Book of Mormon Is the Word of God,” Ensign,Jan. 1988). 

“Let us not remain under condemnation, with its scourge and judgment, by treating lightly this great and marvelous gift the Lord has given to us. Rather, let us win the promises associated with treasuring it up in our hearts” (“The Book of Mormon—Keystone of Our Religion,” Ensign, Nov. 1986).

“The Book of Mormon has not been, nor is it yet, the center of our personal study, family teaching, preaching, and missionary work. Of this we must repent” (“Cleansing the Inner Vessel,” Ensign, May 1986).

I invited my class to do something this weekend to build their own testimony of the Book of Mormon.

1) If my students have already read and gained their own testimony of the Book of Mormon, I invited them to write their testimony of the book in their journal.

2) If they've read parts of the book I invited them to read some of the book this weekend and take Moroni's challenge to ask God if it's true. And If they don't get an answer right away, to keep asking every day.

3) If they haven't read the book yet (or even if they have) I invited them to take the challenge to read the whole Book of Mormon this summer when they're not reading other scriptures for seminary. And to pray every time they read that the Spirit will testify of the truth of what they read, and give them their own testimony of the book. It will change their life.

I shared with my class my experience from a year ago when I took the challenge to read the whole Book of Mormon in 30 days in December. 

I had recently discovered that someone I love had left the Church, which was devastating. She and her husband were both returned missionaries who used to have strong testimonies, and I was shocked to see them lose their testimonies. I started to fear - how could I protect myself and my family from that happening to us?  So I started praying to know what I could do to help protect my family from anything like that happening. Soon my son's seminary teacher gave his class the opportunity to do a 30-day Book of Mormon challenge. When my son told me about it, I had the feeling I should do it. It didn't make logical sense for a busy homeschooling mother to take on such a time-intensive challenge in the busiest month of the year, but it felt right. So I did it. 

It was the VERY BEST thing I could have done. By the end of the 30 days I had felt the Spirit witness to my soul over and over and over the truthfulness of this book and its teachings. I already knew it was true, but now I knew it even bigger, and deeper, and broader, and brighter than ever before. The fear I had earlier was gone. Even though I had read and taught the book before, reading the Book of Mormon changed me inside. It has changed countless others too. My favorite Book of Mormon conversion story is Clayton Christensen's.

Once you gain your own testimony of the Book of Mormon, what else do you know is true? 
  • If the Book of Mormon is true, you also know that Joseph Smith was a true prophet, because only a true prophet could translate a true book of scripture. 
  • If you know Joseph Smith was a true prophet, you also know the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints he restored through the power of God is true. 
  • You also know the Lord's priesthood that was restored, along with the holy ordinances and temples are true, which means families really can be together forever.  
  • If Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God under the Lord's leadership, and he passed that authority before he passed to the next life, then you know that Thomas S. Monson is a true prophet today. 

It all hinges on this one book. Which is a good thing. Because I agree with Joseph Smith when he said, 

“I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.” (History of the Church, 4:461.)

Hugh Nibley used to challenge his BYU Book of Mormon students to write a duplicate of the Book of Mormon. Nibley was a brilliant BYU professor. If you've heard people claim the Book of Mormon was made up by a charlatan, see if you could duplicate it. 

I read Nibley's Book of Mormon challenge to my class, and they were impressed. So was I. There's no question this book came because of God's power. Could YOU create this?

"1. Write a history of ancient Tibet covering a period from 600 B.C. to 450 A.D. Why ancient Tibet? Because you know no more about Tibet than Joseph Smith (or anyone else) knew about ancient America. 

2. You are 23 years of age. 

3. You have had no more than three years of formal school education, and have spent your life in backwoods farming communities. 

4. Your history must be written on the basis of what you now know. There was no library that held information for Joseph Smith. You must use none. There is to be no research of any kind. 

5. Your history must be 531 pages and over 300,000 words in length. 

6. Other than a few grammatical corrections, you must have no changes in the text. The first edition as you dictate it to your secretary must stand forever. 

7. This record is to contain the history of two distinct and separate nations, along with histories of different contemporary nations or groups of people. 

8. You must describe their religious, economic, political, and social cultures and institutions. Cover every phase of their society, including the names of their coins. 

9. Change your style of writing many times. Many ancient authors contributed to the Book of Mormon, each with his own style. 

10. Weave into your history the religion of Jesus Christ and the pattern of Christian living. 

11. You must claim that your smooth narrative is not fiction with moral value, but true and sacred history. 

12. You must include in you book fifty-four chapters dealing with wars, twenty-one historical chapters, fifty-five chapters on visions and prophecies.  Remember, when you begin to write visions and prophecies, you must have your record agree meticulously with the Bible. You must write seventy-one chapters on doctrine and exhortation, and you must check every statement with the scriptures or you will be proven a fraud. You must write twenty-one chapters on the ministry of Christ, and every thing you claim he said and every testimony you write in your book about Him must agree absolutely with the New Testament. 

13. Many of the facts, claims, ideas, and statements given as absolute truth in your writing must be entirely inconsistent with the prevailing beliefs of the world. Some of these worldly beliefs must be the direct opposite of your claims. 

14. Included in your narrations will be authentic modes of travel; whether or not those ancient people used fire; description of their clothing, crops, mourning customs, and types of government. You must invent about 280 new names that will stand up under scrutiny through the years as to their proper application and derivation. 

15. You will have to properly use figures of speech, similes, metaphors, narrations, exposition, descriptions, oratory, epic lyric, and parables. 

16. You must invite the ablest scholars and experts to examine the text with care, and you must strive diligently to see that your book gets into the hands of those eager to prove it a forgery, and who are most competent to expose every flaw in it. 

17. Thorough investigation, scientific and historical evidence, and archeological discovery for the next 125 years must verify its claims and prove detail after detail to be true, for many of the details you put in your history are still buried beneath the soil of Tibet. 

18. You must publish it to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people declaring it to be the word of God and another witness for the Lord Jesus Christ. 

19. The book must not contain any absurd, impossible, or contradictory statements. Your history must not contain any statement that will contradict any other statement elsewhere in the volume. 

20. Many theories and ideas as to its origin must arise, and after discovering and examining the facts, they must fail. You have claimed that your knowledge had come from divine origin, and this claim continues to stand as the only possible explanation. The strength of this explanation must not decrease as time passes, but actually increases to the point where it becomes the only logical explanation. 

21. Your record is to fulfill many Bible prophecies, even in the exact manner in which it shall come forth, to whom delivered, its purposes, and its accomplishments. 

22. Call down an angel from heaven in the middle of the day and have him bear testimony to four honest, dignified citizens of your community that the record is the word of God. These witnesses must bear the angel’s testimony to the world, not for profit or gain, but under great sacrifice and severe persecution, even to their death beds. You must put that testimony to the test by becoming an enemy to these men. 

23.     Thousands of great men, intellectual giants, national and international personalities, and scholars for 165 years must accept your history and its teachings even to the point of laying down their life rather than deny their testimony of it.

24.     You must include with within the record this promise: “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 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.”

25.     Missionaries must bear record to the world for the next 165 years that they know the record to be true because they put the promise to the test and found it to be true. The truth of it was manifested to them by the power of the Holy Ghost.

26.     Over 52,900 plus competent salesman must be so sold on your book that they gladly give up two or more years of their lives to take it to all parts of the world for distribution. They not only pay their own way during these years, but return bearing testimony that the time spent will remain as one of the highlights of their lives. They receive nothing in return for their efforts but the joy of having shared your book with others.

27.     Your book must not only raise the standards of millions of people but do it in such a way that they become one of the great moral, ethical, and dynamic marvels of the day. They must become world renowned for this.

28.     For the next 20 years you must watch those that follow and you, your family, and the dearest of your loved ones persecuted, driven time after time from their homes, beaten, tortured, starved, frozen and killed. Tens of thousands must undergo the most extreme hardships in your presence just because they believe your claims concerning the origin and content of what you have written on ancient Tibet. 

29. You must gain no wealth from your work, but many times lose all that you have. Like those that believe you, you must submit yourself to the most vile persecution. And finally after 20 years of this, give your own life in a very savage and brutal manner, for your testimony concerning your history book. This must be done willingly on your part.

30. Start right now and produce this record which covers 1,000 years of history, doing it, not in the peaceful atmosphere of your community, but under the most trying of circumstances which include being driven from your home several times, and receiving constant threats upon your life. Please have your book completed, talk a friend into mortgaging his farm to raise money to have it printed - all in 60 days. 

There is only one answer: The Book of Mormon is a divine record. If not, its origin must be stated and its claims must be explained by the critic. It isn’t enough to merely discard it as false and forget about it!  The first thing to do in examining any ancient text is to consider it in the light of the origin and background there is no need to look farther, since historical forgery is virtually impossible."

(Lehi in the Desert, in Collected Works of Hugh Nibley, ed. John W. Welch, Darrell L. Matthews, Stephen R. Callister, 13 vols. (1986-94), 5:119).

Sunday, January 25, 2015

My church talk on preparedness: our prophets receive revelation BEFORE it's needed.

I gave this talk in sacrament meeting on January 25, 2015. I had to cut some parts out, but covered most of it. I started my talk with a summary of the parable of Gomer

Our Prophets Receive Revelation BEFORE it’s Needed. 

One of my early morning seminary students recently made a comment, “My friend asked why our prophets don’t get revelation like leaders of other churches do, like how certain churches are allowing gay people to be pastors.” Inside I was saying, “WHAT! What do you mean our prophets don’t get revelation? Of course they do.” A thought came to me to share, “Our prophets are so amazing that they get revelation before it’s needed. They don’t wait until they’re peer pressured into changing with cultural trends.” 

My student’s comment really got me thinking. The Family Proclamation came out in 1995, and I confess that my response was of this flavor, “Duh, what’s the big deal?” Since then we’ve seen how profound that doctrine on the family is as family is being attacked and redefined all over the place.

Family home evening was instituted in 1915. Perhaps some families back then responded with, “Duh, what’s the big deal? Our families are strong.” But now that we’ve seen families torn apart and divorce rates sky rocket, we see that God gave our prophets family home evening before it was needed. 

The Lord gave the prophet Joseph Smith the Word of Wisdom in 1833, and it wasn’t until 1948 that the first major studies showed that smoking caused serious health damage. Noah preached for 120 years telling people to repent. And then the flood came. 

Food storage and preparedness is one of those revelations that God has given his prophets before it was needed. We’ve heard it for over 75 years. Yet I’ve heard people saying, “The prophets aren’t emphasizing preparedness much any more so I don’t think it matters right now.” Inside I want to say, “WHAT? What do you mean it doesn’t matter any more. Of course it matters. The signs of the times are happening all around us.” 

Why Temporal Preparedness Matters. 

Have you experienced a time when your income was interrupted?  Were you grateful you had food storage to help you through, or did you wish you had food storage? Have you had a power outage where you were grateful you had some flashlights and candles, or a natural disaster and had to cook and heat your home without power? Were you glad you had supplies you needed, or did you wish you had prepared better? Have you entered a race or a musical performance where you were glad you prepared well, or did you wish you had prepared better?  

We know from prophets and scriptures that there will be some “adventurous” events between now and Second Coming. It’s part of the plan. President Benson said, “The revelation to produce and store food may be as essential to our temporal welfare today as boarding the ark was to the people in the days of Noah. ... 

We urge you to [get prepared] prayerfully and do it now.  I speak with a feeling of great urgency... Too often we bask in our comfortable complacency and rationalize that the ravages of war, economic disaster, famine, and earthquake cannot happen here. Those who believe this are either not acquainted with the revelations of the Lord, or they do not believe them. Those who smugly think these calamities will not happen, that they somehow will be set aside because of the righteousness of the Saints, are deceived and will rue the day they harbored such a delusion” (“Prepare for the Days of Tribulation,” Ensign, Nov. 1980). 

I’m thrilled that we get to study President Benson this year in Relief Society and Priesthood, and I encourage those who have callings in other areas to at least skim the book to learn from this great prophet, or at least to read his life story in the beginning of the book. What an amazing man. If there is a modern prophet who knows the importance of food storage, it’s President Benson. As a new apostle, he was assigned to post World War II Europe for a whole year, where he saw the ravages of starvation, women crying being given an orange or a spool of thread. 

To anyone who thinks the prophets aren’t talking about preparedness any more, they are. 

  • President Monson wrote his whole First Presidency message about preparedness in the September Ensign of 2014. “We live in turbulent times. Often the future is unknown; therefore, it behooves us to prepare for uncertainties. When the time for decision arrives, the time for preparation is past” ("Are We Prepared?" Ensign, September, 2014).
  • This month Mormon Channel has put out a new video about getting started with food storage, along with a weekly blog post with food storage tips. 
  • Yesterday my husband, Bishop Edwards, got a flyer in the mail from the Layton home storage center saying, “Making a home storage resolution? Let us help!” So the Church is on it. 

Spiritual Preparedness Matters More. Obeying the Spirit, Obeying the Prophets, and Holy Habits are Vital Aspects of Spiritual Preparation. 

A while ago I met a return missionary at the temple who was serving during the 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami. I asked what that was like for him. He said the mission president had planned on having a meeting that day with some of the missionaries in the mission, but then the president felt prompted at the last minute to invite more to the meeting, including all the missionaries serving on the coast. This missionary said his apartment was totally washed away, and he lost everything he owned, but that every missionary was safe. That mission president was spiritually prepared to obey personal revelation, even if it didn’t make sense. And the missionary was spiritually prepared to obey his leaders even if it didn’t make sense. Their spiritual preparedness saved lives.  

Two important aspects of spiritual preparation are becoming really good at obeying our leaders, especially the prophet, and obeying the Spirit. Sister Julie Beck said, “The ability to qualify for, receive, and act on personal revelation is the single most important skill that can be acquired in this life” (“And upon the Handmaids in Those Days Will I Pour Out My Spirit,” Ensign, May 2010). I agree with her. Elder Scott said, “We will never be prompted by the Holy Ghost to do something we cannot do. It may require extraordinary effort and much time, patience, prayer, and obedience, but we can do it.” He said that God will give us “inspiration to know what to do, and when necessary, divine power or capacity to accomplish it.” (21 Principles, Divine Truths to Help You Live by the Spirit [2013] p. 12-14). 

An 8.8 earthquake happened in Chile in 2010.  President Larry and Sister Lisa Laycock were leading the mission. She said that one morning two weeks before the earthquake, “I was awakened at around 4:00 AM by ... a prompting. I did not hear a voice, but the thought was as clear as if it had been in the form of spoken words: ‘There is going to be an earthquake. Prepare your missionaries.’ I sat up in bed and immediately remembered Elder Scott's counsel [to write down promptings that come during the night or first thing in the morning so they would remember them]. That morning I told Larry what had happened. He immediately set to work organizing our missionaries to prepare for an earthquake.” 

The Laycocks visited every missionary apartment, and “brought specific instructions on what to do, supplied water purification bottles for the missionaries, told them how to create a 36-hour kit for emergencies and how to stay in communication should an earthquake strike. They prayed with each missionary and dedicated their apartments.” Sister Laycock said, “When the earthquake came, we were prepared. We did not experience the panic that many felt. We knew we were prepared. Because of the words of the Lord's chosen Apostle, Elder Scott, we had listened and heeded the quiet, but clear promptings of the Holy Ghost. We were blessed with peace in the midst of chaos.” (“In Chile: The Lord’s Earthquake Warning,” Meridian Magazine, February or March 2010).  

Ephriam Hanks is another example of spiritual preparedness of knowing how to obey personal revelation and the prophet. Ephriam had an angel visit him, telling him, “The hand-cart people are in trouble and you are wanted; will you go and help them?” He answered, “Yes, I will go if I am called.’ That happened three times that night.” ("Ephraim K. Hanks' Narrative").

So the next morning he went to Salt Lake City to see the prophet. Brigham Young told the Saints that there were Saints who needed their help, and asked certain men to prepare to go rescue them. After other men said they could be ready in a few days, Ephriam said, “I’m ready now.” Ephriam left the next day. He found the Martin handcart company in their starving, snowed in condition. He had prayed for a buffalo to bring to the starving Saints and saw one immediately after his prayer, which meat he brought to the Saints. Had Ephriam been one or two days later, the Saints may have all died. Ephriam’s spiritual preparedness helped save hundreds of lives. 

Elder Oaks told us,  “A 72 hour kit of temporal supplies may prove valuable for earthly challenges, but, as the foolish virgins learned to their sorrow, a 24-hour kid of spiritual preparation is of greater and more enduring value” (“Preparation for the Second Coming,” Ensign, May 2004).

President Kimball taught that it’s the everyday holy habits that build our spiritual preparedness. “Attendance at sacrament meetings adds oil to our lamps, drop by drop over the years. Fasting, family prayer, home teaching, control of bodily appetites, preaching the gospel, studying the scriptures—each act of dedication and obedience is a drop added to our store. Deeds of kindness, payment of offerings and tithes, chaste thoughts and actions, marriage in the covenant for eternity—these, too, contribute importantly to the oil with which we can at midnight refuel our exhausted lamps.” (Faith Precedes the Miracle [1972] p. 256.)

Sister Linda Reeves also expressed the importance of prioritizing holy habits that bring spiritual preparation. She said, “It is OK if the house is a mess and the children are still in their pajamas and some responsibilities are left undone. The only things that really need to be accomplished in the home are daily scripture study and prayer and weekly family home evening” (“Protection from Pornography – A Christ-Focused Home,” Ensign, May 2014).  

I hope we aren’t just going through the motions with our holy habits. Going through the motions doesn’t bring enough spiritual power and armor of God that we need these days. I hope our prayers are sincere, and our scripture study is feasting. I hope we are putting effort into planning family home evenings that address the specific needs of our children, and being guided by the Spirit. 

Did you notice that most of the talks at our last General Conference mentioned the importance of following the prophets? Do whatever it takes to strengthen your testimony of our current prophet, Pres. Monson. I highly recommend reading his biography. Mike and Adam both read stories from it to our family on a trip before Adam’s mission. Even though I already knew Thomas S. Monson is a true prophet of God, through his biography, the Spirit witnessed again and again that we are led by a true prophet of God, who follows Jesus Christ at the head of this church. If your testimony of our prophet isn’t vibrant and strong, may I invite you to start today taking steps to strengthen your testimony. 

A Change in Counsel About Food Storage. 

I used to do public speaking about preparedness, and it was pretty straight forward because for years the Church taught us to store seven basic foods and even gave us the amounts that would sustain life for a year: “...Wheat or other grains, legumes [like pinto beans or lentils], salt, honey or sugar, powdered milk, and cooking oil. [And a lesser amount of water.] When members have stored enough of these essentials to meet the needs of their family for one year, they may decide to add other items that they are accustomed to using day to day” (First Presidency Letter, January 20, 2002). 

Then in 2007 the Church gave us new counsel in a new pamphlet called “All is Safely Gathered In.” I have some guesses about why the counsel changed in 2007. Perhaps because they saw that immediately after disasters, eating chili out of a can is easier than figuring out how to grind wheat. Perhaps it’s because we’re now such a worldwide church and Saints in Tonga might store coconut milk and dried mango rather than wheat and beans. It doesn’t matter the reason for the change. All that matters is that we know this direction came from the prophet, and we need to obey it. 

Here is the current counsel in this 2007 pamphlet “All is Safely Gathered In.” 
three-month supply of everyday foods that you’re used to eating 
long term foods

The easiest way to start with your three-month supply of everyday foods is to simply buy some extras each time you shop. Even though it might stress some people, I think it’s kind of cool that the Church isn’t giving us specific lists and amounts like they used to, because it gives each family the opportunity to pray about what the Lord would have them store. I still think the original seven basic foods and the amounts the Church used to recommend are a great way to build your long term foods. The cheapest way to get a year supply of survival food is to buy wheat. If you buy the bags from a local LDS storehouse  you can get an entire year supply of wheat for one person for less than $100!  That is around the price of many cell phone or cable TV bills. The Church will even ship cases of food storage to you. How easy is that?  You can find a food storage calculators online to help you figure out amounts of these basic long term foods for your family.  

In the recent President Monson message that I mentioned earlier, he included being careful with spending and getting out of debt. He also said, “Every family [should have a] supply of food, clothing, and where possible, other necessities of life.” Other necessities of life might include ways to live without power, heat, or water. It might include a 72-hour kit or a way to live outside for a time in case of earthquake or some other crisis. That’s why personal revelation is so wonderful, because we can pray like Ephriam Hanks and those mission presidents did and know from the Lord the specific things we need to prepare for what the Lord knows is coming for our specific families. 

Invitation to Kneel in Prayer and Ask God. 

I invite you to kneel in prayer before today is done, and please write down any thoughts that come as you are praying. Ask Heavenly Father if He wants you to become more prepared spiritually and temporally. Ask if there are any ways the Lord wants you to improve your holy habits. Ask if He will help you figure out where to start with your food storage. I also invite you to ask Him what amount of money He would have you dedicate to preparedness each month, and then treat it sacredly by paying it second, right after tithing. Because tithing and preparedness are both a matter of faith and obedience, right? You could use a special jar with a favorite preparedness quote taped to the jar.  Then each month pray that you’ll be guided in how to best use those dollars for preparedness, and watch the miracles happen. Take your concerns to Heavenly Father in prayer. If you feel like you don’t have time, money, space, or feel too overwhelmed to get prepared, tell Him that and ask Him to guide you to solutions. 

Then, when challenging times come, because we’ve been told by prophets and scriptures that they will, you won’t have to say like Sister Gomer did, “I told you so.” You will have obeyed the Lord, and you will be prepared. 

Saturday, January 24, 2015

The parable of Gomer. What excuses have you heard for not getting prepared?

This is a light hearted parable that helps you see the seriousness of food storage, and the ridiculousness of excuses instead of obedience.

These are the generations of Gomer, son of Homer, son of Omer. And in the days of Gomer, Noah, the Prophet, went unto the people saying, “Prepare ye for the flood which is to come, yea, build yourselves a boat, that ye may not perish.”

Now, Gomer was a member of the Church, and taught Sunday School and played, yea, even on the ward softball team. And Gomer’s wife said unto him, “Come, let us build unto ourselves a boat as the Prophet commandeth, that we may not perish in the flood.” But behold, Gomer saith unto his wife, “Worry not, dear wife, for if the flood comes the government will provide boats for us.”

And Gomer did not build a boat. And Gomer’s wife went unto Noah and she returned saying, “Behold, Honey, the Prophet saith unto us, “Build a boat, that we may preserve ourselves, for the government pays men not to grow trees, wherefore the government hath not the lumber to build for you a boat.” And Gomer answered saying, “Fear not, oh wife, for am I not the star pitcher on the ward softball team? Wherefore, the Church will provide for us a boat, that we will perish not.”

And Gomer’s wife went again unto Noah, and she returned unto Gomer, saying, “Behold, mine husband, the Prophet saith that the Church hath not enough lumber to build a boat for everyone, wherefore, mine husband, build for us a boat that we might not perish in the flood.” And Gomer answered her saying, “Behold, if we build a boat, when the flood cometh, will not our neighbors overpower us and take from us our boat; wherefore, what doth it profit a man to build a boat?”

And Gomer’s wife went again unto Noah and she returned, saying, “Behold, the Prophet saith, build unto yourselves a boat, and have faith, for if ye do the Lord’s bidding, He will preserve your boat for you.” But Gomer answered his wife, saying, “Behold, with this inflation, the price of wood has gone sky high, and if we wait awhile, perhaps the price will go down again. And then I will build for us a boat.”

And Gomer’s wife went again unto Noah, and she returned saying, “Thus saith the Prophet, build for yourselves a boat RIGHT NOW, for the price of wood will not go down, but will continue to go up. Wherefore, oh husband, build for ourselves a boat, that we may perish not.” But Gomer answered his wife, saying, “Behold, for 120 years Noah hath told us to build a boat, to preserve us from the flood, but hath the flood come? Yea, I say, nay. Wherefore, perhaps the flood will not come for another hundred and twenty years."

And Gomer’s wife went again unto Noah and returned saying, “The Prophet saith, he knows it has been 120 years, but nevertheless, the flood will come, wherefore, build unto yourselves a boat.” And Gomer answered her saying, “Wherewith shall we get the money to build ourselves a boat, for are we not now making monthly payments on our snazzy new four horsepower chariot? Wherefore, when our payments end, perhaps we shall build ourselves a boat.”

And Gomer’s wife went again unto Noah and returned saying, “Behold, the Prophet saith that we should cut down on our recreation, and our vacations, and even give each other lumber for Christmas, that we might thereby get enough lumber to build a boat.” But Gomer saith unto her, “What a drag! Are we to cease enjoying life, just because we must build a boat?”

Wherefore, Gomer built not a boat. But behold, one afternoon Gomer heard thunder in the sky, and he feared exceedingly and he ran, yea, even to the lumber yard to buy lumber. But behold, the lumber store was crowded with great multitudes, all seeking to buy lumber, and there was not enough lumber to be found for the multitudes. And on the same day were all the fountains of the deep opened, and the windows of heaven were broken up, and the floods came — and behold, Gomer had no boat.

And as the water rose above Gomer’s waist, his wife saith unto him, “Behold, Honey, I told thee so!”

—Author Unknown

Note from Becky. Here are a few more excuses Gomer could have said, this time related to food storage. 

"But Brother Geeper bought a bunch of food storage years ago and he has never had to use it. Obviously it was a waste of time and money. So I'm not going to waste my time and money. 

"But we cannot afford to buy food storage. Our daughter Gyser must weareth name brand clothes. We wanteth her to be popular. And we love to eat at restaurants, which leaveth funds for food storage. And we must remodel our kitchen. And our son Gooner must play all the sports our town offereth year round, and he must be on comp teams, don't you see?" 

"But we don't have space in our home for food storage. Our four children needeth their own bedrooms. And we must have a living room, family room, and toy room. There is no extra space."   

"But dear, spiritual preparedness mattereth most so we'll just work on that. I'm sure the Lord will save us with manna if we just read our scriptures. How can He expect more than that?"

"Oh dear, worry not, we will just go to the house of Brother Gooper, our ward preparedness specialist. Surely he has enough food to feed the whole ward for a year or so." 

"I feel so overwhelmed by all the preparedness information that I don't know where to start, so I just don't do anything. 

"Food storage is not a commandment really, just advice, don't you think?" 

"We don't have time for that food storage stuff. Please giveth me the remote. My favorite show is on." 

"But dear wife, we must taketh our children to GomerDisney, because everyone knows that no childhood is complete without GomerDisney. So food storage will just have to wait." 

"But all the other signs haven't happened yet, so there is no needeth to worryeth. I'm sure we'll get plenty of notice before the flood." 

Note from Becky.  

Of course I'm not talking about a family with no income, or a single parent who can barely put food on the table. There are many legitimate circumstances where people cannot do much with food storage. It reminds me of King Benjamin's speech where he said people should give to the poor, but if they are poor and cannot give, they should have a heart that would give if they could give. (See Mosiah 4:24-25.) If your heart is wanting to obey God and get prepared, He knows that.

Here's another thought. Even people will very meager incomes have prayerfully decided on an amount per paycheck to dedicate to food storage, and they treat it sacredly, almost like tithing. Because tithing and food storage are a matter of faith and obedience, aren't they? Then these people have seen miracles where the Lord has guided them to make that money stretch as they have done their best to obey the Lord's command to get prepared. I invite you to ask the Lord how much He would have you dedicate each paycheck toward getting prepared, and then obey the answer He gives you. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Little quotes so good they may tempt you to take a Sharpie to your laptop...or at least a sticky note!

My artsy friend felt an urge to take a Sharpie to her laptop. 

So she asked people to share their favorite short, inspiring quotes that impact and drive them to do the hard work to accomplish their life missions and help their family members to the same. The responses were so good that I had to share these awesome quotes. I added memes of some of my favorite quotes too. (I won’t take the time to verify if all the quotes are properly written or cited.) Please share which quote you liked best or add one to the list in the comments below! 

Work keeps at bay three great evils; boredom, vice, and need. -Voltaire

Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn. Benjamin Franklin

'Even miracles take a little time."- Ralph Waldo Emerson 

"If you pray for rain be prepared to deal with some mud."-Mary Englebreit 

"There is great meaning in life for those who are willing to journey." -Jim England 

"Another word for creativity is courage." -George Prince 

"A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions."-Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. 

"The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched- they must be felt with the heart." -Helen Keller. 

"This too shall pass." 

"Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming." 

"Whether you think you can, or you can't; you're right." Henry Ford.

"Come what may and love it." Joseph B Wirthlin

Everyday holds the possibility of a miracle.

You get a whole brand new day every day.

Decisions determine destiny. - Thomas S. Monson

Twenty years from now, what will you wish you had done today?

Our family motto this year is, "This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it."

“We are hard-wired for joy.” - Dona Eden 
Remember that your natural state is joy. 

The day I decided that my life was magical, there was suddenly magic all around me. 

Be so happy that when others look at you they become happy too. 

Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls. - Mother Teresa 

Wake up every morning with the thought that something wonderful is going to happen. 

Sis's Hinckley's advice to her grandaughter when she needed to know what to do about the fits her daughter was throwing. "Just save the relationship." — Marjorie Pay Hinkley

"How did a nice girl like me get into a mess like this?"-- Marjorie Pay Hinckley

God can repair a broken heart, if he has all the pieces. ~my favorite fortune cookie, ever

The first, the middle, and the last thing to do is PRAY. ~ Henry B. Eyring

"Life is good, when you live in such a way to make it so" -BENJAM√ćN DE Hoyos.

Trust the Process - Rachel DeMille

Be the Change You Wish to See in the World - Gandhi

Your Work is to Discover Your Work and Then With All Your Heart to Give Yourself to it. - Buddha

Find Joy in the Journey - Thomas S. Monson

Gareth Robertson One's mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.- Oliver Wendell Holmes

The only thing that ever sat it's way to success... was a hen. 

The harder you work, the luckier you get.

Work will win when wishy-washy wishing won't. -Thomas S. Monson

Either you run the day, or the day runs you. -Jim Rohn

Who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this? - Mordechai to Esther

Without hard work nothing grows but weeds. -Gordon B. Hinckley
One life is all we have and we live it as we believe in living it. But to sacrifice what you are and to live without belief, that is a fate more terrible than dying..I am not afraid... I was born to do this.-Joan of Arc

"I am Johannes Verne, and I am not afraid."- Louis L'Amour, Lonesome Gods. (I change it to fit my name though, and its helped me through some rough patches.)

War must be, while we defend our lives against a destroyer who would devour all; but I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend. - J.R.R. Tolkien, The Two Towers, Faramir

Mean moms make the best kids. 

Gratitude is turning what you have into enough.

"There is not enough darkness in all the world to put out the light of the smallest candle." - unknown

To help you remember you are not stupid: "Life is hard. It's harder if you're stupid." -John Wayne 

Self discipline is doing what should be done, when it should be done whether you feel like it or not. -Brian Tracy

Be humble, for you are made of earth; be noble, for you are made of stars. -Serbian Proverb

You have brains in your head and feet in your shoes, you can steer yourself in any direction you choose.-Dr Seuss (Oh the places you'll go)

Isn't it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when we look back, everything is different.-C.S Lewis

No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river, and he's not the same man.- Heraclitus

At the end of the game, the king and pawn go back in the same box. -Italian Proverb

To cause an avalanche you can shake a mountain or find the right place to drop a snowflake. - Unknown

Throw more love at the problem, not less. - Coffee mug

A fight is not won by one punch or kick. Either learn to endure or hire a bodyguard. - Bruce Lee

If no one ever took risks, Michaelangelo would have painted the Sistine floor. - Neil Simon

Here is the test to find whether your mission on earth is finished: if you're alive, it isn't. - Richard Bach

When obstacles arise, you change your direction to reach your goal, you do not change your decision to get there. -Zig Ziglar

Act, and God will act. -Joan of Arc

I have had dreams and I have had nightmares, but I have conquered my nightmares because of my dreams. -Jonas Salk

Every human being is intended to have a character of his own; to be what no others are, and to do what no other can do. -William Henry Channing

Don't wait for extraordinary opportunities- seize common occasions and make them great. Weak men wait for opportunities; strong men make them.-Orison Swett Marden

When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive - to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love. -Marcus Aurelius

Life is about using the whole box of crayons. -Unknown

Whatever with the past has gone, the best is always yet to come.-Lucy Larcom

This day shall turn all griefs and quarrels into love.- William Shakespeare

Every father should remember that one day his son will follow his example instead if his advice. - Unknown

You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.-Jack London

Be Still and Know That I Am God...

Change your words, change your world

You can choose to be right, or you can choose to be happy. -Dr Phil

"There is no school equal to a decent home and no teacher equal to a virtuous parent." - Mahatma Gandhi

What we learn with pleasure we never forget. - Unknown (to me)

My life is my message. - Gandhi

"If you judge others, you will have no time to love them". - Mother Teresa 

Character: The ability to carry out a worthy decision after the emotion of making that decision has passed. 

"Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak.
Not to act is to act." - Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

“God helps me, that is what I think, and then I am calm.” - Carl Bloch 

"It is not our abilities that show what we truly are, it is our choices!" ~Dumbledore - Harry Potter 

"God not only loves the obedient. He enlightens them." - Henry B. Eyring

As a man thinkith so is he....James Allen

Lately I've been struggling with comparing myself with others, so I remind myself, "Keep your eyes on your own paper." Not particularly profound, but it's working for me.

Fear not to do good, my sons, for whatsoever ye sow, that shall ye also reap; therefore, if ye sow good ye shall also reap good for your reward. - Doctrine and Covenants 6:33

"Wherever you are there you are!" Zig Ziggler 

If you want to lead an orchestra you must first turn your back to the crowd." 

"Meekness is not weakness, it's the Christian badge of courage" Member of the LDS quorum of the twelve I can't remember who?

"She turned her cant's into cans, and her dreams into plans" 

Work is love made visible.

Be an AGENT for yourself rather than a OBJECT to be acted upon. (Comes from David A. Bednar, but sort of summarized)

"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." -Eleanor Roosevelt

The question is not how much does the youth know when he has finished his education- but how much does he care? -Charolette Mason

We learn to do something by doing it. There is no other way. -John Holt

The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well. -Ralph Waldo Emerson

When life gets too hard to stand ... kneel. Gordon B. Hinkley
“Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you help them to become what they are capable of being.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Whether you think you can or think you can't, You're right. Henry Ford. 

One woman shared the quotes that are on her bathroom wall. Doesn't that look cool? 

Your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other factor. Abraham Lincoln

Do your best

I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me.

Do what's right, not what's easy.

"This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man." Polonius from Shakespeare's Macbeth.

"It's All Good!"

"The most important work you will ever do will be the work you do within the walls of your own home." Harold B. Lee

"We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them." - Albert Einstein

“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” - Albert Einstein

"Your life is supposed to feel good to you." - Abraham Hicks

"You can't take sides against anything. If you would just be one who is for things, you would live happily ever after. If you could just leave the "against" part out." - Abraham Hicks

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." Thomas Jefferson

Never do something for someone else that they can do for themselves.

Erin Daniels This too shall pass. (Reminds me to savor the good parts and to remember the bad parts aren't forever.)

You cannot struggle to joy. Struggle and joy are not on the same channel. You joy your way to joy. You laugh your way to success. It is through your joy that good things come. - Abraham Hicks

While raising my children this plate and quote from The Lord's Prayer helped me. Ironically the kids ended up breaking my plate, one of the few things I remember forgiving them for because most of the other things are forgotten. Quote" Forgive us our tresspasses as we forgive those who trespass against us."

Forgiveness is the ultimate kindness.

Win the children over, don't win over the children.

"Who are you?" from Alice in Wonderland

"I have no special talent, I am only passionately curious." Albert Einstein

"Speak the truth, even if your voice shakes." Not sure who said this.

"Don't raise your voice, improve your argument." Desmond Tutu

"The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion." Albert Camus

"Don't exchange what you want most for what you want at the moment." Unknown

“In the midst of winter I found there was within me, an invincible summer." Albert Camus

"Get busy living or get busy dying." Stephen King

"A little rebellion is a good thing." Thomas Jefferson

"Question everything. Learn something. Assume nothing." Euripides

"Beware for I am fearless and therefore powerful." Mary Shelly

"There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something." Tolkein

"It doesn't take courage to do the things you're not afraid of." Ralph Moody

Practice makes perfect. 

Fail to plan, plan to fail.

"Think and grow rich." - Napoleon Hill (I know it's a title, but I've been thinking of it more and more as an instruction.)

"If you love life, then do not squandor time. Time is the stuff life is made of." - Ben Franklin 

Procrastination is the thief of eternal life.

"O be wise, what can I say more?" Book of Mormon, Jacob 6:12

"There is no chance, no destiny, no fate that can circumvent or hinder or control the firm resolve of a determined soul." - Hyrum Smith (co-founder of Franklin-Covey)

"When you really want something, you'll find a way; when you really don't, you'll find an excuse." 

"Whatever you vividly imagine, ardently desire, sincerely believe and enthusiastically act upon must inevitably come to pass!" - Paul J. Meyer 

Until you value yourself, you won't value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it. - M. Scott Peck

Whatever you are, be a good one.

My personal favorite is "Give me a young woman who loves home and family, who reads and ponders the scriptures daily, who has a burning testimony of the Book of Mormon. Give me a young woman who faithfully attends her church meetings, who is a seminary graduate, who has earned her Young Womanhood Recognition Award and wears it with pride! Give me a young woman who is virtuous and who has maintained her personal purity, who will not settle for less than a temple marriage, and I will give you a young woman who will perform miracles for the Lord now and throughout eternity." - Ezra Taft Benson September or October 1986. He has one for the young men that I used as a guideline in choosing a husband. That one was said in April 1986.

The value of an idea lies in the using of it." Thomas Alva Edison

Something my mother always said to me, I hated it, it has stuck and followed me in life, and brought much desired change, “It is not enough that we do our best; sometimes we must do what is required." Winston Churchill

I also love what Gordon B Hinckley prayed for daily with his children, "Live without regret."

"We can't take any credit for our talents, it's how we use them that counts." - From the Wrinkle in Time (L'Engle).

LOVE not fear!

Think right, and you'll do right! My father said this to us all the time. His name is B. Almas

I will go and do...

"Nobody sees a flower really; it is so small. We haven't time, and to see takes time - like to have a friend takes time." -Georgia O'Keeffe

Bloom where you are planted.

I eat roadblocks for breakfast. (Becky’s note: that one made me throw my head back and laugh.) 

Gratitude makes what we have enough. 

Do the right thing, for the right reason, and do it all the time. Proverbs 3:5-6.

"Hold on. Just hold on." 

"Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape." 

And, my personal homeschool mantra: "An ounce of morning is worth a pound of afternoon." (Becky's comment: As a homeschool mom, I have to agree with this one 100%!) 

I can do hard things! 

"Put my shoulder to the wheel!" 

"It is never unwise to do what is necessary."- Sarek, Spock's Father 

“It takes ten times as long to put yourself back together as it does to fall apart.”― Suzanne Collins, Mockingjay

"Self appointed expectations lead to self induced frustrations." --Abraham Lowe 

"We all have good judgment in our own eyes." --Robert Millett (not the BYU professor)

"We don't discover humility by thinking less of ourselves; we discover humility by thinking less about ourselves." --Deiter F. Uchtdorf

"You cannot break a [natural] law; you can only break yourself against it." --Leslie Householder 

"Abundance is not license to be wasteful, it's what happens when you're being grateful." --Matthew Parks 

"Find a purpose in life so big it will challenge every capacity to be at your best." --David O. McKay 

"Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom." --Viktor Frankl 

"If you can't change a situation, you can change your attitude toward it." --Abraham Lowe 

"Fear is a belief -- beliefs can be changed." --Abraham Lowe 

"Every act of self control leads to a sense of self-respect." --Abraham Lowe 

"Have the courage to make a mistake." --Abraham Lowe

Everything is easier with a good attitude.

I keep telling my kids "Attitude determines your experience."

"Wherefore we are what we repeatedly do; therefore excellence is not an action but a habit." - Aristotle

"Self-discipline = self-confidence."

Begin each day with a grateful heart ♡ <<<keeps me going every day!

"Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to reform (or pause and reflect)." Mark Twain
January 18 at 1:21pm · Like · 2

When God sees you doing your part, developing what He has given you, then He will do his part and open doors that no man can shut.

When you have exhausted all possibilities, remember this, you haven't. - Thomas Edison

"All is well, all is well. Though everything is a mess, all is well." ~Anthony de Mello

Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing about (or something like that). Benjamin Franklin.

Attitude is contagious, make sure you have one worth catching. 

You cannot unsay a cruel word.

How you make others feel about themselves says a lot about you. 

Children reflect the treatment they receive.

"Isn't it splendid to think of all the things there are to find out about? It just makes me feel glad to be alive - it's such an interesting world." - from Anne of Green Gables

Education means developing the mind, not stuffing the memory.

Harmony is being different together

It is not your abilities that determine who you are, but it is the choices that you make (I think it's from Harry Potter?)

Comparison is the thief of joy. - Theodore Roosevelt

"Work will win when wishy-washy wishing won't." - Thomas S. Monson.

"Everybody's gotta work. You have 2 choices. Either you love it, or you hate it." - Wendell Preece

"The difference between try and triumph is a little UMPH!" By Marvin Phillips

 "You are what you repeatedly do" -Aristotle.

"The very moment you begin to seek your Heavenly Father, in that moment, the hope of His light will begin to awaken, enliven, and ennoble your soul. The darkness may not dissipate all at once, but as surely as night always gives way to dawn, the light will come." —Dieter F. Uchtdorf, "The Hope of God's Light"