Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Triumph Of Zion

Your assignment, should you choose to accept it is:

1) Read Through His Eyes by Virginia H. Pearce

2) Read A Heart Like His by Virginia H. Pearce.

And then...

3) Read Triumph of Zion

I'm not done with this yet. I'm just ordered this one so I can mark it and write notes in it - I just picked this one up at the library cause I've just been thinking a ton about Zion for some reason, and guess what? Did you know that it is our responsibility to build Zion? Do we really understand what that means? In the 10th Article of Faith, we members of the church have recited since our Primary days that we believe Zion, the New Jerusalem, will be built upon the American continent. But, before Zion can be built physically, it has to be built spiritually, right? That basically means that we have to be so righteous, so full of love and the spirit, so much like our Savior, that we're worthy to live in his presence. Basically we have to be worthy to be translated! Do we really believe that? We have faith that it is true, but do we believe that has any affect in our personal daily lives? Can you imagine that? That is really what we are trying to do in these last days!!!! Am I making sense? To quote Salman Khan, if that "does not blow your mind, then you have no emotion." (See 1:01-1:06) If you don't get what I'm talking about then lets go back... start with #1 above, then #2, then we should be on the same page and you can go to #3 cause this will blow your mind.

Please come back here and email me or chat with me in person, cause if you have started to think along these lines, we gotta talk cause this is just awesome. You MUST read this book. It is awesome. Holy shmoley, deep thoughts and very amazingly profound and wow, I love it!! What an AMAZING TIME TO BE ALIVE!!

I'll talk about this book more after I'm done reading it. If you want to explore it with me, grab a copy and let's go!

A Heart Like His

This book is so wonderful, I can't recommend it enough. If you are seeking help in becoming more Christ-like, you must read this book, it is full of amazing, beautiful, and simple examples. I felt like I was reading so many of my own thoughts and feelings that I hadn't know how or had time to put into words.

Like on page 34 ~

"I am blessed, personally, beyond measure, and yet oddly enough, I, too, Struggle to feel His love for me every day. When I stack my obstacles against others' they seem too frivolous to be authentic. And yet, this mortal existence is designed by a genius, so that we will all, no matter our circumstances or parentage or gifts, have to exercise our agency to come to Him. And so though my problems may seem small to an outsider, they are big enough for me to desperately need Him."

Oooh I loooved that!!!! Like think of the children of Israel at the edge of the Red Sea loosing hope and doubting, but that's where they had to get to before they decided it was out of their control and they should trust in God. And even then they forgot that lesson and wandered 40 years in the wilderness. Do we have to hit rock bottom before we turn to the Lord? Or are our small problems enough for us that they let us know how desperately we need Him? I hope I can continue to learn from my small problems, but if he gives me big problems, I shall remember my Savior and his suffering and it will help me to be submissive to God's will. I can also look to my heros and heavenly examples of Shannon and Stephanie to encourage me to endure it well. I know God loves me, so it must be a blessing, to help me learn and help me BECOME who he wants me to become. Yay!!

Another wonderful quote from page 38 - Virginia Pearce shares how her husband is a butterfly collector...

"We have museum drawers full of outrageously unnecessary beauty. It is beauty that causes you to wonder how your vocabulary could be so small and woefully inadequate. ... When I want to fill my heart with His love, I open my eyes to the creations of His hand, especially the ones that seem outrageously and uselessly beautiful--sunsets, sunrises, ice crystals, the way a baby laughs before she can do useful things such as talking and walking..."

I feel like the home we are renting right now is so beautiful, right on the end of a quiet street with big beautiful pine tress in our back yard, a vacant lot next to us full of trees that give cool shade and sound like the ocean waves when the wind blows, it's over the top how beautiful it all looks and sounds and smells and feels. Our ward, our neighbors (I'm always in awe that my family and I are so lucky to know and rub shoulders with an apostle of the Lord!!!) the wonderful friends here that are so kind to us, it is simply heaven on earth. I feel like it is kind of not fair and unnecessary for God to have blessed me so much with so many things, thing I desired and so many other things that I didn't even know I wanted but I just love and enjoy, it's seriously over-the-top blessings and I wonder "Why me?"

My husband and brothers and sisters are so amazing!

I also agree with Virginia that besides the things that make me feel most in awe of God's goodness are when I am still and forget my busy to do list and projects in progress and just sit and behold my little one, Sophia, or my little one Lily, Abi, any of my kids...

...when I am still and see them and behold them for who they are or when I try to see the world through their eyes, it just fills my heart and helps my heart become more like His - full of joy and hope and fullness, I love it. I love my kids. They are what God gave me time for. It's all about family, people, relationships, that is what earth life is all about.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Looking For The Good

I am so excited for General Conference this weekend! I'm excited for all the speakers and praying for them, so looking forward to hearing the words that Jesus Christ has inspired his servants to share with us. Lots of people may think that Christians have a doom and gloom outlook on the world, with an Armageddon mentality. I admit that sometimes I do let fear get to me with images and thoughts of how terribly wicked the world is. But then I'll turn on BYUtv, or I'll read the scriptures, or watch the 11 o'clock devotional on kbyu, and I will think "It's okay to live in a bubble, it's my happy bubble, and it's real. I really am happy! It's my corner of heaven." Then instead of feeling despair and fear, I will feel so happy and lucky and amazed that I am alive at this time! It is a wonderful time to be alive, can you believe it!? We are on the earth before the return of Jesus Christ! We are the ones who are building Zion! Whenever I say "Zion" I feel like I'm the little girl the Church movies playing a young pioneer who wants to go to Zion. But I've believed it in faith my whole life, and I'm really starting to believe it for real, that it's not just a story, it's true and it applies to me and how I live. I can have a heart like HIS, I can be full of love, hope, and charity! I can be happy and see the GOOD in the world. I think it is Satan that wants us to focus on all the havoc he is making. Christ tells us to not fear, to be of good cheer, to have hope, and he will give us peace.

Modern Prophets and Apostles will speak to us THIS WEEKEND!! What will they say? "Ok, we've done pretty good, and now it's over, the end is near, so head for the hills!" I think it will be more along the lines of what they've said in past Conference Talks.

Or, they also speak to us each month in the Ensign Magazine. Let's see if there's any "hellfire and damnation" in the messages over this past year:

March 2011 - Looking for the Good
April 2011 - He Is Not Here, But Is Risen
May 2011 - All these talks were amazing, a favorite: Desire
June 2011 - The Blessings Of Tithing
July 2011 - Brother, I'm Committed
August 2011 - Love At Home
September 2011 - General Conference, No Ordinary Blessing
October 2011 - Precious Promises of the Book of Mormon
November 2011 - Again, all wonderful talks
December 2011 - The Choice to Be Grateful
January 2012 - Living The Abundant Life
February 2012 - Exhort Them To Pray
March 2012 - Why Do We Need Prophets?

I am positive that it will be more of the same, uplifting and inspiring words full of hope, good works, and joy. Come and see and hear and feel and know for yourself ~ it is all good, and it is of God. "By their fruits ye shall know them."

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Joy In The Journey

Another talk by the prophet that has blessed my life:
Finding Joy in the Journey
Read, watch, or listen to it at that link above.

One of the parts that I loved in that address is the story told of a Church member Jay Hess, who in the 1960s, as an airman in the Vietnam war, was shot down over North Vietnam. From President Monson's talk: "For two years his family had no idea whether he was dead or alive. His captors in Hanoi eventually allowed him to write home but limited his message to less than 25 words. What would you and I say to our families if we were in the same situation—not having seen them for over two years and not knowing if we would ever see them again? Wanting to provide something his family could recognize as having come from him and also wanting to give them valuable counsel, Brother Hess wrote" —

These things are important:
Temple Marriage,
Press on, set goals, write history,
Take pictures twice a year.

What an inspired note from Brother Hess to his family, I think it's just amazing. And what wonderful counsel from our modern prophet. I know he is a good man, a great man. I believe and know President Monson is a man inspired and chosen by God, a prophet, the spokesman for Jesus Christ here upon the earth in these latter days. But you don't have to take my word for it - come and listen to him for yourself. Come and see!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

General Conference!

General Conference has changed my life
for the better.

Here's a talk that is one example:
The Divine Gift of Gratitude
We listened to that when we were in Costa Rica
and it was a real turning point for me -
the beginning of a journey on how to be Grateful.

Well, there is more of that coming our way!
Spiritual Enlightenment here:
Its coming in less than 2 weeks!
Set your calendars!

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Abundant Life

Here is some wonderful counsel that I've been focusing on this year - The ABCs to help us all live an "Abundant Life" - this message is from our modern day prophet Thomas S. Monson.

A - Attitude - B - Believe - C - Courage

A - Attitude
"Attitude, to me, is more important than... the past, ...than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company, a church, a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day." - Charles Swindoll

We can't direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails. For maximum happiness, peace, and contentment, choose a positive attitude.

B - Believe
Believe in yourself, in those around you, and in true principles. Don't limit yourself and don't let others convince you that you are limited in what you can do. Believe in yourself and then live so as to reach your possibilities. You can achieve what you believe you can. Trust and believe and have faith.

C - Courage
Courage becomes a meaningful virtue when it's though of not so much as a willingness to die bravely but as a determination to live decently.

Ralf Waldo Emerson: "Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide on, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires some of the same courage that a soldier needs. Peace has its victories, but it takes brave men and women to win them. "

Courage is required to make an initial thrust toward ones coveted goal, but even greater courage is called for when one stumbles and must make a second effort to achieve. Have the determination to make the effort, to work toward a worthy goal, and the courage not only to face the challenges that come but also to make a second effort, should such be required.

Cultivate a positive attitude
Believe that we can achieve our goals and resolutions
With courage face whatever challenges may come our way

...then the Abundant Life will be ours!

Friday, March 16, 2012

They Saw Our Day

I served a mission in Arizona from June 1997 - December 1998, and I remember another missionary giving me and my companion a cassette with a radio recording of some guys discussing prophecies of the Hopi Indians of Arizona. I remember thinking it was pretty incredible, not going to go search for it in my old journals right now though - I think we gave the cassette back to the missionary (was that you Elder and I had no idea who the radio hosts were or anything or where to look for it. Well, I now think it was Lance Richardson cause he has this cd that I just listened to and he worked hosting a radio program, and after listening to this cd it had a lot of the things I remember hearing on that cassette over 10 years ago. I'm glad I found this cd, cause it's got some incredible stuff!!

From the publishing company's website:

Amazing prophecies were given to the Hopi Indians as well as the Mahayan of China, the Tibetans, Kikuyu of Africa, the Mayans, Aztecs and Incas of South America, and great number of North American Indian tribes. Many of these prophecies came from a "Great White Brother" who visited most of these peoples, taught them of peace, and prophesied what would occur to them until he returned in the "last days" to help build a society of complete peace in this land. The coming forth of the automobile, airplanes, electricity, phone systems, man on the moon, great wars, climactical disasters and even cloning foretold. Three "great shakings" of the earth were also prophesied. The third is yet to take place. Many significant signs and warnings were given to watch for the final "great shaking" or "time of purification." After that cleansing, a time of complete peace was to come upon this land. Also contained herein is the vision of General George Washington which he beheld at Valley Forge, selected quatrains from Nostradamus, as well as verses from the noted Mother Shipton.

I loved the hearing all the and the vision of George Washington on disc 2. Snopes says the vision is false (read the vision and Snopes reasons here), but I'm persuaded that it could be true for two reasons: #1 - because the way the angelic visitor spoke to Washington is similar to how the angel addressed Nephi in his vision in 1 Nephi chapters 11 through 14. and #2 - it gives me hope for America, that even though we're living in troubled times, the Union shall stand. God is at the helm. I know that God has preserved this nation and our freedom up to now, and I believe he will continue to spare America for the righteous' sake. The righteous need not fear!! That message is repeated over and over again in 1 Nephi 22 (starts in verse 17, but that whole chapter is wonderful). We are repeatedly counseled in the scriptures to "fear not" (Isaiah 41:10). Learning to not fear and to trust in the Lord was probably my biggest take away from our time living in Costa Rica and Chile. God is good, we are in his hands and we can and should trust Him - He loves us!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Remarkable Soul of a Woman

"Often small acts of service are all that is required to lift and bless another."

Loved the message in this book - it is an adaptation of Dieter F. Uchtdorf's address titled "Happiness, Your Heritage" delivered at the general Relief Society meeting in September 2008. (watch it here or read it here). Just a great talk all around. I remembered listening to it and feeling more motivated to do small things to help bless and lift others, instead of thinking that unless I had cookies to take over I shouldn't go. Small and simple things, like creating a smile or sharing a listening ear.

"In the end, the number of prayers we say may contribute to our happiness, but the number of prayers we answer may be of even greater importance."

Nephi In The Promised Land

I really enjoyed this book by George Potter - Nephi in the Promised Land. (I also really enjoyed his other book Lehi in the Wilderness) In this one, Mr. Potter proposes that the Nephite civilization could have been in Peru rather than Mesoamerica based off of the following criteria of 4 essential things that would have been required to compile the Book of Mormon.

1) golden plates : Metal has been worked in Peru from as early as 1900 B.C. Specifically there is evidence that they mastered the skill of hammering gold into very thin plates on which they could write.

2) a language with Semitic Roots : The Peruvian language of Quechua belongs to the three-vowel system of languages as does classic Arabic. Also, apart from the language of Cuzco which is the general Quechua language that the Incas introduced throughout their empire and was the one they used in speaking to their subjects, they knew a different language which they used only among themselves when they dealt and conversed with those of their own lineage.. Now the descendants of the Incas have forgotten this language, although they still remember some words from it. The secret language of the Inca nobility was called Callawaya. The Book of Mormon implies that the Nephite ruling class had such a private language, and it was Egyptian. Jacob recorded that a man came among the Nephites who had a perfect knowledge of the language of the people (Jacob 7:4) This could be interpreted to mean that while the Nephite royals and the prophets spoke and wrote reformed Egyptian, there was another "language of the people". (I had never thought of it that way before, I thought that was cool!)

3) a vanished written language - Oral traditions indicate that the early Incas had a written language that eventually became lost. All traces of Peru's ancient written language have vanished and is a direct fulfillment of Jacob's prophecy in Jacob 4:1-2 that "whatsoever things we write upon anything save it be upon plates must perish and vanish away".

4) a historical visit in the land by Jesus Christ
- More important than gold or written records is the fact that for any nation to have written the Book of Mormon, it must have been visited by the Lord Jesus Christ. The Book of Mormon's main objective is to stand as a second witness of Jesus Christ. The traditions of Peru's Viracocha white-god appear to be consistent with the Bible and Book of Mormon's description of Jesus Christ.

The book goes into a lot more detail on the above points and there's lots of other interesting stuff, I really enjoyed this book and it gave me a lot to think about - I highly recommend it!

(and I'm not ruling out North America, since I also recently watched this youtube video which makes me open to the idea that the ancient societies of North America were simply erased...)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Lehi In The Wilderness

I have about 20 pages left to read in this book which I borrowed from a neighbor, and wanted to recommend it to anyone who is like myself and just loves this stuff of exploring the "how?" and "where?" and "what was it like?" of the Book of Mormon Geography. I just ordered our own copy so I can highlight a few parts and have it on hand to share - it is very interesting and I should have it soon if you want to borrow it :)

So much of this book is just amazing, but one favorite part is on pages 148-149 talking about Nephi building a ship, talk about a HUGE undertaking! Not as big as Noah's, but still, you're building a boat that you are going to launch out into the unknown ocean, your life and the life of all your family, your wife, children, siblings, parents, are going to be on the line if it sinks. Not one board of this ship can be out of place, and it's got to have room for all his family and their children and families (the authors estimate 75 people (pg. 143)), room for all the food, ship repair supplies, everything you think you might need to live off of while you're out there in the ocean for who knows how long? Hello, what a huge leap of faith!

So here's my most favorite part:

"One could argue that it was no problem at all; for the Lord could have simply supplied Nephi with all the materials, knowledge and skills he needed on request. We refer to this as the 'storybook' version of Nephi's ship. It is a scenario that we think grossly misrepresents how the Lord deals with this faithful servants and significantly undervalues what Nephi actually accomplished through applied faith and works, and it also leads to a mythological rather than factual understanding of the Book of Mormon. Besides, the storybook version makes no sense. If the Lord simply wanted to supply everything for Nephi, one miracle after another, why build a ship in the first place? Why not have them walk across the ocean?

"The likelihood of the Lord-did-it-all theory seems even more doubtful if one considered the context in which the ship was built. Why would the Lord suddenly start intervening in every matter after having Nephi and his group suffer great afflictions for eight years in the desert where they nearly died and having them later almost drown in a great tempest at sea? Nephi seems to have had to suffer through each ordeal the same as any man. The sun shone just as hot on him as anyone else, the rain fell just as wet on him, and the wind blew just as hard.

"Like the desert journey, building a ship was part of Nephi's development under the hand of the Lord. He, too, would have had to learn line upon line, precept upon precept, as all who had gone before him or would go after. The Lord seems to have made a pioneer 'par excellence' of the faithful Nephi, who on his journey acquired all the basic skills necessary for the creation and settlement of an ancient society in the strangeness of the promised land. ... Nephi's journey was, we might say, his university."

As I said in this post, learning to trust God and turn our will over to Him is a journey that all of us need to have, we all need to experience our own personal Gethsemane where our will is broken, he will "wrench your very heart strings." I heard that last quote was something Joseph Smith said, just googled it, here's the quote:

"You will have all kinds of trials to pass through. And it is quite as necessary for you to be tried as it was for Abraham and other men of God, and God will feel after you, and He will take hold of you and wrench your very heart strings, and if you cannot stand it you will not be fit for an inheritance in the Celestial Kingdom of God."
- Joseph Smith

We must be tried as Abraham. It's part of this growing experience, this university education we're all receiving here on earth.

The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven

I am currently reading a book that is helping reinforce why Attitude is so important. I bought the book "The boy who came back from heaven" yesterday - Wanted to stay up reading, but at midnight told myself I should go to bed. I've been reading it most of the morning, and I'm loving it -

Brief sum up of the story setting: in 2004 the dad Kevin and his son Alex are in a terrible accident. Alex is 6 years old and breaks his spine and is in a coma for 2 months lingering between life and death, one evening it's the mom's turn to stay with Alex at the hospital - Kevin's turn to stay at home with the other 3 kids. That night there is an ice storm and the power goes out. In the dark, the dad tries to pack up a bag and they go spend the night with a family member. When he comes home the next day, there is a fallen tree blocking the driveway. With what he and his family have been through, a fallen tree is no biggie - he gets out of the car and walks around it. Sees lots of other trees fallen over. Calls his dad to say "I'm going to need your help to clear off all these fallen trees. Atleast none of them fell on the house..." and as he said that, the house comes in view and there is a tree on it and the roof has fallen in! "Um, let me call you back..."

From page 75 - I quote Kevin's father:

When Kevin called back and told me about the tree on the house, my first response was to laugh - not a laugh of calllousness, but a laugh of joy at the goodness of God. I truly mean that. For me, the question isn't, "Why do bad things happen to good people?" but "Why does anything good happen at all?" We certainly don't deserve it.

I told Kevin, "First, consider that the power went out. What a great blessing. Had it not gone out, you would have been in the house with the kids when the tree struck the roof. Second, you badly needed to replace your roof anyway, now you'll get a brand-new one, and your insurance is going to pay for it! And third, I have one question, Kevin: Which trees were taken down in this storm? All the weak ones! The strong trees are still standing. You've received a natural pruning, making your property safer and healthier, leaving the strong trees for your family to enjoy. By next July, you won't be able to tell a single tree was taken down."

The hand of God was everywhere to be seen in this situation, but, as I pointed out to Kevin, we have to be willing to see it - to receive it as God's good in our lives.

I thought that was great. Also, when Kevin's dad first came to the hospital where his grandson was laying in critical condition, he put his arm around Kevin and said "Son, many people in the world would love for this to be their worst problem." December of that year was the tsunami in Thailand, and Kevin thought "I still have Alex, I still have my home... 'many people in the world would love for this to be their worst day.'"

One last quote from Kevin's father: "Does our daily focus on the ordinary events of life dampen our awareness of the providential and miraculous evens occurring in and around us all the time?"

Isn't that great? In 2012, I'm going to continue to have a good attitude. When trials come, and they will, know that God loves you and wants to bless you, and that your trial is in fact actually a blessing. Our challenge sometimes is to see how it is a blessing.

1 Nephi 11:17 - like the prophet Nephi, I know God loves his children.

I'm going to go read some more. :)

Heaven is For Real

Corey got me this book "Heaven is for Real" for Christmas and I finished reading it today. Corey and I have read lots of books like this and they always fascinate me. Has helped my thoughts be more on Christ, who is the reason for the season, as we all know. This one was a quick read and I finished it tonight, then got online to look up the picture "Prince of Peace" that they reference by Akiane Kramarik -

which led me here, which then reminded me of some things Tomas Kofod said during a fireside that we went to back in 2000 ... (cue year 2000 journal entries -)

First, before the fireside where Tomas spoke, we had gone down to temple square to see the movie "The Testaments of One Fold and One Shepherd - Here's what the newspaper said at that time: -

Salt lake Tribune Religion Section C for Saturday, March 25, 2000. It is the main article on C1. It said that all actors who had a major role had to be temple worthy. The film maker Keith Merrill was told by President Hinckley, “It will be the most important film the church has ever made.” Then Pres. Hinckley said “I have never seen a depiction of the Savior I liked.” They said finding the right person to play Jesus was like finding Cinderella. They looked at “every available LDS actor in the world, eventually considering more than 500.” Merrill gave screen tests to 64, then selected three to present to the First Presidency. The result? LDS leaders told Merrill to “keep looking.” In desperation, the director sent a call across the Internet and received an email from Tomas Kofod, a Danish convert, asking about the part. Kofod had been an exchange student in Utah more than 10 years earlier, had lived with a Mormon family, then returned to Denmark and joined the LDS Church. He became an accomplished actor, performing with the Royal Danish Shakespeare Company. Kofod was brought to Utah for an audience with the First Presidency, and they like him immediately. Kofod’s Danish-accented voice had to be dubbed by Will Swenson. They said His blue-eyed Scandinavian looks are not meant as a church statement about Christ’s appearance, instead, viewers should see Kofod as presenting “the feelings of Christ that were acceptable to the First Presidency.

So, after reading that in the paper, I was really excited to see the portrayal of Christ. We went and saw the film at Temple Square later that month in 2000 and just loved it.

The next year, we went to a fireside where Tomas Kofod spoke on 24 June 2001 (I'm so glad I have these journal entries - making me remember that I need to keep writing and recording today cause I'm going to forget everything about my life right now and it will be lost forever if I don't write it down!!!) Just going to paste this whole entry here...

Sunday, 24 June 2001

This afternoon we went over to Corey’s parent’s house. The single’s ward where Mark and Nancy attend was having a special fireside and Tomas Ambt Kofod was the speaker. He is the man who played the part of the Savior in the Church movie The Testaments of One Fold and One Sheperd. It was a spiritual feast. I felt the spirit so strongly and felt so edified after hearing him speak. I want to come to know the Savior better. I am going to study the Book of Mormon more faithfully - President Benson said that is the tool that the Lord has give us to draw us nearer to Him.

Some things Tomas spoke about was the miracles involved in him even finding out about the part. His wife sent her very first email to her friend in Orem, and her friend got on the computer when she got home from work, which she never does, and saw the email from Tomas’ wife. She sent them information regarding tryouts for parts in the Church film, which she had seen on the internet earlier. That information was only on the internet for that one day. Everything about it was miraculous, from him finding out about the part, getting out of other acting commitments to come and try out, getting his ticket to fly over in time, and then finding a replacement after he was given the part. He said when he was getting his make-up on before his screen test, he looked out the door saw “Christ after Christ” walking down the hall, they were all tall and had deep voices (Tomas kept making jokes about how skinny and small he was). He also said he didn’t like his nose, and after taking a look at himself he asked the make-up artist to put more make-up on each side to shadow his nose a little better, and after she did and he saw himself in the mirror, he said he was looking into the eyes of his Savior. He told of how he got sick on the night before they were going to start filming, and he prayed and pleaded for help to get better, but felt his prayers weren’t getting past the hotel ceiling. It was late and so after pouring his heart out he decided it would be best to go to bed and try and get some rest. As he was laying in bed, a voice came to his mind, as clear as any voice he’s ever heard. The voice said he was sorry to make him sick, but this was the only way to make him humble enough to hear. The Lord told him he needed to be more humble and told him many other things he did not share with us. He said if a person had rebuked him that way, he might have been offended, but he didn’t take any offense, but listened to the counsel. Another time he got sick when they were filming, but it wasn’t to humble him. He was given a blessing, I think by the director, where they rebuked Satan and commanded him to leave.

One more entry of another fireside where we listened to two other actors from the film-

Rick Macy, the man who played Helam in the Church film The Testaments of One Fold and One Shepard, came and spoke, along with the lady who played Mary Magdalene, and Merrill Jenson, the man who wrote the music. It was a wonderful fireside. I invited my parents and Corey’s parents. Corey’s parents came and so did Mom and Rebekkah. The main message: it was all real. You can’t act a testimony. It was an amazing spiritual experience for all of them, and the film has truly strengthened my testimony and touched my soul. Rick Macy said that Tomas Kofod, the man who played the Savior, is such a humble and Christlike man. He was the person for the part

Then searched around online and I thought this was a book - but I think it's just in audio cd, will probably order it sometime. It is probably a recording of a fireside similar to the one I attended.

Led By The Hand of Christ

Thought I'd do a quick book review of these two books, both by Suzanne Freeman (as told to Shirley Bahlmann (Hmm?))- Led by the Hand of Christ and Through the Window of Life

I read this first one in 4 hours over the weekend. I liked it at first, then around page 84 I was like "What?! That's not right..." I was already starting to wonder how she remembered all the details about everything, started to think some of it was maybe made up or borrowed from other sources? (not sure how much the "as told to Shirley Bahlmann" added to the content...) Then on page 84 she writes about meeting Nephi: "He lives in the heavenly version of a city that the Nephites built after they left an area in the eastern United States." That's where I was like "Mmm, I'm not buying this story..." - I don't think it's impossible that she met Nephi, my doubts come cause I think the Nephites lived in Peru - (that's the current theory I'm leaning toward) so that added detail derailed my waning confidence in this book.

I haven't read anything very convincing about it being in the eastern US. (If you have anything compelling about New York feel free to share, cause so far I don't think that New York or Mesoamerica are the right locations. I read this book by George Potter and it was very compelling and lots of it rang true. I have it if you want to borrow it. Now I'm reading the Book of Mormon again with Peru as the setting in mind and so far it fits well)

...Anyway, then in Suzanne's book on page 130 she says that she chose to not remember her near death experience, but then after she's been back on earth she's been able to remember parts of it and then prays and remembers more. So to myself that validated my skepticism about all the details in her story. Just my opinion. I'd be interested to see how/if my opinion would change by seeing her in person and or hearing her speak. But as for now, meh -

So then I thought I'd read her other book (didn't know why she's have two books talking about the same experience, felt like I had fallen ploy to marketing techniques - 2 for 1 the other way around - 1 for 2 - one experience, sell two books about it) - to see what this one was about and about page 4 I was like, ohh, I'm not going to like this, and I was right, I didn't enjoy this one at all. It was a chore to read it but I felt like I had to, sort of like when I forced myself to read Twilight, just felt like I should know what everyone was talking about, like some obligation.

Twilight tangent: I did think the first book was fun, and since I started it I felt like I had to read all of them. But I didn't do the 4th book Breaking Dawn, but I remember totally just trying to get book 2 and 3 "over with", no offense to Twilight fans, I just don't have time in my life for fiction right now. And this book "Through the Window of Life" fell into my "fiction" category, cause after book 1, I started this one pretty skeptical, and as I read I just didn't like it at all. It's a short book but it took me a week to finally force myself to finish it, and I was forcing my eyes to keep looking at each word so I could turn the page and finish it - it just read like a lot of made up ideas and stories, so I didn't like it, sorry. I don't think that we'll all be crawling out of caves when the Lord comes again. He's not building his kingdom on earth (which I believe is what the restoration of the gospel is) just to destroy everything and start over again when he comes for the Millenium. The world's not ending yet, look to the living prophet and apostles for guidance. Keep setting goals and pursuing your dreams. As President Packer says in the 2nd to last paragraph of this talk:

"Sometimes you might be tempted to think as I did from time to time in my youth: “The way things are going, the world’s going to be over with. The end of the world is going to come before I get to where I should be.” Not so! You can look forward to doing it right—getting married, having a family, seeing your children and grandchildren, maybe even great-grandchildren."

When the Lord comes, I don't think it will be how people tend to think it is, which this book is an example of how I think people think it will be like, I don't agree with it. Plus, one of the apostles lives on our street a few houses down, so we'll keep an eye out on him for all of us. ...If we do see the moving van in his driveway, we'll send out the alert to all of you and we'll all pack up and follow him wherever he's driving to. ;)

So these two books are now put on the "Things I don't know what to do with" shelf in my brain. There are lots of other things on this shelf. The other shelves in my head are "things I believe are right" and "things I think are wrong". The reason why this is on my "don't know" shelf rather than the wrong shelf is cause there is a lot I don't know about this lady. I have no reason to believe she is insincere, I think it's possible she did experience many of the things she shares, I just don't believe all of it, thus it's in the "I don't know/don't get it" category.

So there's my opinion. If you want to read them and give me your 2 cents, let me know and you can borrow these copies. :) See ya later!

Flight To Heaven

I loved this book. I didn't read any reviews before I read it, got interrupted by kids after starting it on Monday, then last night after they were all in bed, I started on page 78 and stayed up until 2 a.m. reading it, I kept telling myself: "...I really should go to bed... well, just one more chapter..." Finally made myself stop at 163 then finished it today. It was fun to read, some things I didn't expect that I won't talk about here in case it spoils it for you, but if you read it and want to talk about it, shoot me a facebook message and we can chat.

He only shared a little bit about heaven (chapters 14 & 15) and they are similar to other NDE accounts. That was okay for me, cause the thing I loved most about this book was the journey of faith he experienced through his broken ankle. He prayed and prayed for his ankle to heal, and there were miracles along the way that eventually made it happen, but for a time doubt set in and he feared along with his doctor that his "faith experiment" had ruined his chance for healing and that he would be crippled for life. He called himself an "untrained unit" in the war for faith, which I liked cause I feel like I'm untrained too and am still learning how to defeat fear and doubt at times. I also liked on page 134 "I wasn't going to make a parade out of my faith this time." I think I've been guilty of that before. Mostly just in my mind, silly things like when I was so sure we were going to with the Body for Life contest - lots of times as I experimented with my faith, it was more of an experiment using "The Secret", trying to "will it" to happen by my will, not letting God's will decide. So I really liked this book cause I related to his story about how he learned HOW to have faith. I think I've had the same journey but in a different way (mostly through MovieMouth). One of my neighbor's family is having their own experience of faith but through the illness of a child (Here on the mom's hospital journal entry on November 14th "Walking Through Water") as I read this particular entry, I know that I've learned that too, but did wonder why they are learning it in such a hard way, my way really wasn't hard in comparison. (Poor me, I had to live out of suitcases for 9 months with 7 kids and live in a small apartment in Chile... boo hoo. Corey said one time in Chile "Come on, this isn't that bad... it isn't Valley Forge!" (At that time he was reading a George Washington book.))

How do we want to view our life? I know that people who look for the good are happier, so I think since I want to be happy, I'll keep trying to do that. (In Costa Rica, I lived 10 minutes from the beach, awesome! In Chile, I only had 700 square feet of apartment to clean! Sweet!) How do we want to look at our life - Are we grateful as we see the blessings or do we like to complain and murmur about the difficulties and inconveniences?

Anyway... learning to Trust God and turn our will over to Him is a journey that all of us need to have, we all need to experience our own personal Gethsemane where our will is broken, giving us a broken heart and a contrite spirit (see verse 7) - giving up what we want most and letting the Lord give us what He wants for us, according to his will. And as we remember that God loves us we will learn to trust him, and we'll recognize that he has and IS blessing us. We will know that whatever happens will be for the best. (amazing talk at that link above too!!)

I'll end here with another part of the book I liked in chapter 10 as he sat in the backyard in his wheelchair and pondered on the change of seasons:

"Up until (the accident), I had always been a doer; now I was learning to just be.

"Trees need the winter. They need time to strengthen for the growth in springtime.

"I had experienced a lot of growth. Now was the time for the energy to be diverted from the branches to the roots. The roots of my faith were going deeper. Much of what was going on with me was going on underground, so to speak, beneath the surface, unseen. Growth can be a lonely place, but it is a necessary place."

So when we go through changes and trials and hard times, keep a proper perspective, remember past miracles and answers to prayers like talked about here in one of my all time favorite talks ever. Trust that things will work out, but that it's a winter season for you before the blessings and beauty of springtime.

Heaven and Hell

Corey read this on the news this morning and is the one who broke the tragic news to us at breakfast. I was making sandwiches for lunch when he said he wanted to tell us something but didn't want me to spend the rest of the day at the computer. "...okay..." I said wondering what the news could be. When he told me I just froze and looked at him in disbelief. Every once in awhile an event comes along that just knocks you flat.

We've talked with our kids about this terrible situation before, we watched Josh's interview on Dateline, and have followed updates on the case in the news - this morning continued our discussion with the kids about life, death, and choices. My heart especially breaks for Susan's parent's, Chuck and Judy Cox. They are the ones left behind on earth to endure the sadness and heartbreak. Our prayers are with them right now. I know they they will find comfort through our Savior, as He is the only one who knows fully their pain. I know they will find peace in the knowledge that those sweet boys are with Susan in Paradise.

I also know that Josh is in "spirit prison" a.k.a. hell. I'm not saying that with a "glad he got what's coming to him" attitude or vengeful feelings. I don't hate him, Susan's parents didn't hate him, the problem wasn't with them or with Mormons or neighbors or news bias or anyone who was calling it as they saw it - they were trying to help because they could see the danger and sadness of where it was leading and sadly, despite the best efforts of many people, it has come to pass. Josh refused to accept help, correction, or to look in the mirror. He pointed to others as being the ones with the problems. But the problem was with him and he refused to change his actions, and that is what destroyed his family here on earth and will continue to destroy and torment him. I pity him.

Sarah LaNelle Menet talks about spirit prison in her book "There is No Death". I read this book while Corey was in Chile and read chapter 3 with the kids at night, the part where she describes her visit to "hell". A little background - Sarah tried to commit suicide cause her life was miserable. She had had a terrible childhood and was abused by her father, life didn't get better as she grew up and got married and realized she had married an abusive man just like her father, anyway, I won't go into more details, but she didn't believe in heaven or hell, and since she hated life just wanted it to be done and over with, so she took a lot of pills and died. She found herself in a peaceful sort of in-between place for a while, then a deceased relative comes to tell her "you're not supposed to be here, you have to go back" to which she cries and refuses, then she's sucked into a "spirit prison" - it's dark, she hears what she thought at first was tortured animals but then realizes it's people, she feels claustrophobic like she's stuck in a thick heavy goo surrounding her, as she slowly moves around she asked in her mind "Am I in Hell?"

Quoting from the book:

The answer came quickly. No, this is not Hell, exactly. This was a place of temporary confinement for those spirits who had committed acts of evil during their lives on earth and, having not repented of them had to suffer for their choices. Here they suffered a penalty for their sins that would help them understand the broad consequences of evil. People on earth referred to this place as hell because it is so very horrifying, but here they called it spirit prison.

I understood that there were several areas to this spirit prison, and I was in the worst part of this place of sorrow. I was also impressed with the thought that the entire spirit prison was huge. ...

People who had committed heinous, horrible crimes against other human beings were locked into this terrible place where they would for a period of time feel the pain they had inflicted upon others, but that pain was enormously multiplied. They were in an agony beyond mortal comprehension. I also understood that many of those held there were still filled with the hate and anger that had consumed them while upon the earth. I was somehow permitted to feel a small part of their emotions. The desire to murder, inflict pain, and destroy that they felt in their earth lives had remained with them, but they were now prevented from committing those acts because of their spirit nature. I understood that you could not physically hurt a spirit, good or evil.

I asked, How could a loving God put any of His children in a place like this no matter what they had done? The answer came immediately to me: God did not put them in this place. Their own actions drew them here. I then understood that somehow their evil deeds and desires while in mortality caused them to be attracted and pulled to this dreadful fate.

While feeling overwhelmed by my surroundings, something very strange seemed to come over me. I began to feel very badly for them. The strangeness of what I was feeling was the fact that I had never felt sympathy for anyone back on earth. My attitude had always been that it was a dog-eat-dog world, I was going to take care of myself and let everyone else get along the best they could. But here I was feeling sincere empathy and concern for those around me. I wanted to help them in some way, but there was nothing I could do.

Ok, I'll stop there with the quote, continue on page 57 if you get the book. But I will also tell you that while she was in Hell, she stood next to her father, her father who had abused her and who, when he was dying of cancer and asked her to forgive him, she (page 14) "let all the hate pour or of me and I told him that he was responsible for my horrible childhood and the reason I could not function as an adult. I blamed him for every mistake I had ever made. To my utter astonishment, in the middle of my tirade, he held out his arms and asked me to forgive him. What a nerve he had! I said 'I hate you and am so glad you are dying. I am glad that you are in pain and I will never visit your grave'... " She didn't attend his funeral and didn't shed a tear, she thought that now that the nightmare was over, she could make something of her life.

So, I just told that for background, so you'd know her feelings for him, but while she stood next to him in hell, she was able to feel (page 58) "a small part of the pain that he was feeling for the life he lived. It was so completely overwhelming and excruciating that even 22 years after that experience I can still feel the pain my father felt. ... I felt so sorry for my father that I wanted to put my arms around him, perhaps to give him some comfort of understanding that I had forgiven him, but I didn't. Because I couldn't touch him, I just stood there feeling his desire to change what he had done to me. Now he had real sorrow for his choices and the pain he inflicted on others. I realized that he was repenting, but it was excruciatingly painful and slow. It would take a very long time. Once again I realized that we not only feel the pain of what we have personally done in our lives, but we also feel the pain that we have inflicted upon others--from their perspective. The unspeakable regret and torment these spirits were suffering was because of this ability to feel what others feel."

So those are some of the thoughts that have been on my mind this morning after hearing about Josh Powell's actions yesterday. Small bad choices, if not corrected, lead to bigger wrong choices as adults, which for some people lead them to take the lives of their wife and children. My job as a mom is to help my kids learn right and wrong while they are young and the consequences are small. So it breaks my heart that Josh did this. I can't believe it, but how do you reach someone who is so lost? I can't understand it, how a parent could destroy their children. My heart aches as I think of what the boys were thinking and feeling as they burned. Josh is feeling those fears and pains from the perspective of his children, his sweet innocent children. Fears are a lot bigger and worse to kids, I can only imagine, so sad.

Also made me think of Alma 14 - Alma and Amulek preached of Christ and those that believed were burned by the non-believers. Amulek wanted to stop the fire and save them, but (verse 11) "Alma said unto him: The Spirit constraineth me that I must not stretch forth mine hand; for behold the Lord receiveth them up unto himself, in glory; and he doth suffer that they may do this thing, or that the people may do this thing unto them, according to the hardness of their hearts, that the judgements which he shall exercise upon them in his wrath may be just; and the blood of the innocent shall stand as a witness against them, yea, and cry mightily against them at the last day."

5-year-old Braden and 7-year-old Charlie, they are in Paradise now with their mother, received in glory. Josh was allowed to do this to them according to the hardness of his heart. This was his choice, his action, and God's judgements will be according to His justice and mercy.

Book Review - I Saw Heaven

Good book, recommend it. Not much time to type now, but the author of this book is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, so since we have that in common I understood most of what he shared.

Favorite part in this book - how everyone in heaven is just learning and learning, there is a thirst for knowledge (pg 75). I liked that - I feel like I have so much that I want to read and do and learn how to do that if I stopped and only did the things I know I have on my list now, I could be busy till I die (that's not factoring in sleep or housekeeping or the things that I'll want to add to my list after I learn what I want to learn - like Einstein's "Circumference of Darkness" theory.) Wonderful to know we will live, learn, and progress forever!

Getting Our Stories Straight

I just listened to a talk called "Zoram and I: Getting Our Stories Straight" on tv and I LOVED IT, so I had to share. Read it here or watch it here or get the MP3 to listen here

I guess I loved the talk because it brought beautifully together many things I've been thinking about, such as Josh Powell and the story he believed and told himself (this article).

Also, Corey recently read a manuscript called "The Belief Window" for a book that Hyrum Smith is working on with Spencer Johnson (author of "Who Moved My Cheese") - and I love and totally believe the idea that we can change our attitude about our lives by changing how we view the story of what happened, or by changing what we believe as in the Belief Window or the Belief Box in our heads, which Virginia Pearce explains in this book "Through His Eyes":

This book is kind of like a little work book to get you to look inside your head about what you believe, and to only put things back in your head that you want there - I wrote in a journal as I read and I wrote out my beliefs and sorted them into these three three categories she suggests:

- not true at all -
(Lies we tell ourselves like "I'm a failure if my house is messy" and "If something goes wrong in my family, it's always my fault")

- true -
(with a small "t" like good advice, like "I believe I should make a contribution, be responsible, do my share of the work and a little bit more" or "I believe if you plan well and work your plan, you can be successful")

- True -
(with a capital T" - Eternal Truths that are true and always will be no matter the circumstance, such as "I am free to exercise my agency and I am accountable to God" and "I will not be here on this earth forever")

So the idea of a "Belief Box" from Virgina Pearce's book and the talk about Zoram and "getting our stories straight" went hand in hand I thought, so watch or read that talk, and then read the book too, it is excellent!

A Supreme Creator

Ok, this is a long post, sorry.

I had a brief dialogue with someone who commented on this article about Karen Santorum's statement that she felt it was God's will for her husband to run for president. (I have no problem with that, I don't think she was saying it's God's will that he win, just God's will that he run...), so I replied to this lady's comment because she claimed there is no God because why would God care about politics and not help people who suffer, thus he is either evil or not powerful (although claiming he's either evil or not powerful doesn't prove he doesn't exist...) Something like that. Here's my brief conversation with Scunnered:

Scunnered - Gaawd. And my overly religious friend just told me "god" helped her heal after a boob job. If "god" gets involved in boob jobs, sports and politics whilst ignoring the suffering, hungry, abused and neglected then "he's" either evil or not as powerful as "he'd" like you to believe. Right?

Tiffanie Hibbert Wride - Incorrect. Read "There is No Death" by Sarah Menet, she talks about why people suffer with hunger, abuse, neglect, etc. Sarah was severely abused by her father, was an atheist for the same reasons you share, but after committing suicide (unsuccessfully), she learned by experience to think differently. She talks about your question, start on pg 99 and pg 115

Scunnered - Incorrect??! Tiffanie, please! No wait, as there is no way I'm purchasing the said book, could you please enlighten me? How does she justify (because that's really all she's doing) her god ignoring those in need yet scurrying to the aid of my friend after a boob job? Please share!

Tiffanie Hibbert Wride - Right - also, in view of all the world's problems, why would God heal a boob job because of prayer but not protect two children from being burned alive, which is the story of Josh Powell's kids that's been in the news recently - would people agree that those things are evil? My answer - absolutely yes. If we believe in evil and that some things are wrong, then we are both appealing to the same "moral" standard defining right and wrong, but who is behind those morals and defining them. Who says killing is bad? Can someone murder and say "well, that's just your opinion?" No, it's truth, it's God's standard and God's truth. It's an eternal truth.

We are all free to choose things that are evil/wrong/bad or to choose things that are good/right/true, and this life is where we experience some of the consequences of our choices, and after this life is over, death is inevitable, we'll continue to receive the blessings and peace or the punishments and misery of our choices and actions here on earth.

Don't know if your library has the book. Happy to continue this discussion here. You can read my review on amazon for that book if you want to hear more of my thoughts

Scunnered - I'm not talking about Josh Powell, I'm talking about young victims (his and others). Is it 'gods will' that they be raped, abused and tourtured while praying and nobody comes to their aid? How about Fraulein Friesel who prayed to 'god' for 30 years to help her...was THAT gods will with the promise of a better life after death??!!! Why did my friend deserve his aid after her boob job more than Fraulein Friesel??

We now know that there are multiple universes with multiple earth-type planets...why do you think everything is all about us? Also, can't you see the ugliness in people raping, killing, every single day....we are no different than animals. Why do you think after a life of drinking beer and watching tv that there is a better place 'in the sky' for humans? Sorry to tell you this but just like every other living thing: When it's over, it's over. We go back to the earth.

Tiffanie Hibbert Wride - If we are just like every other living thing, then your argument becomes meaningless because there's nothing to get upset about and nothing "morally" wrong about killing, rape, or any supposed "ugly" action. It's not ugly, it just is. People suffer too cause that's just how it is. Animals suffer way more than humans. Lions will kill their cubs, crocodiles kill wildebeests, and seems like there's nothing to be upset about then if there's no God, cause that's just how just is. Right? Or am I missing something in the logic there?

People who believe in God have to explain why people suffer - People who don't believe in God have to explain everything else.

Wind and rain didn't carve the Rosetta Stone, there's a human idea, plan and designer behind a physical computer, and there's a Designer with a master plan behind each body, world, and galaxy without number.

There is a Supreme Creator
(That's a good youtube video, watch it)
~ ~

So that's that. I don't think it helped her at all, but it does always help cement my own beliefs to have a discussion like that and hear someone else's point of view (especially when it makes absolutely no sense). Also in the comments, an atheist Ralph goes off about how there is no God but there is just no logic in his argument.

It's long, but I'll post those comments here too:

Ralph - Christians believe God planned the days of your life in advance, choosing the exact time of your birth and death." Let's examine one simple implication of this statement. What this means is that God pre-planned every abortion that has taken place on our planet.
If you think about this implication for a few moments, you will begin to realize how impossible "God's plan" is. If the concept of "God's plan" is true, you can first of all see that God wants us to be aborting children.
Every single abortion is planned by God, so God must be doing it for a reason.
Second, you can see that both the mother who requests the abortion and the doctor who performs it are blameless. Since it is God who planned the abortion of the child (God chose the "exact time" of the death), the mother and doctor are simply puppets who are fulfilling God's plan.
You can also see that all the Christians who are fighting against abortion are missing the point. They are actually fighting against God's plan, and their fight is completely futile. God is the all-powerful ruler of the universe, and his plan is for more than a million children a year to die in the United States through abortion. Each one of those abortions was meticulously planned by God, so fighting against abortion is a totally wasted effort.
If you are a Christian, what you are thinking is, "God does not intend for us to perform abortions!" But if you believe what the Bible tells you, then you are obviously incorrect. God is actually the direct cause of every abortion on earth. If you find that notion to be uncomfortable, I would agree with you. Unfortunately, that is the logical outcome of God's plan.

NHConstitutionalist - Your deductive reasoning would be correct. In which case we can do away with the premise of free will. Every vile act that has been committed is no ones fault, an Interesting concept. But, that leads to the question; why do Christians believe in original sin, baptism, and the the reason Jesus died and was resurrected if individuals are not accountable for sin, given it was already predetermined what actions they would perform?
Since I don't follow those beliefs, I guess I'll simply have to take responsibility for my actions.
That aside, I'm inclined to believe God is not responsible for our behavior nor is He involved in politics as it is that is considered to be what is rendered to Cesar. If I believed in the devil I say it was more his realm. Oh 7734 I'll say it anyway, given the condition of this world I'd be inclined to think he certainly has his hot bony fingers in it.
Thanks for your insight, I had to smile ... The devil made me do it.

Ralph - If you believe in "God's Plan" then everyone is a puppet..God and his pan knew and sanctioned the abortions.
BTW..where are the Christians who are Christ-like and were ordered by their God to sell all their possessions and give the money to the poor?
Have you sold all you own to feed the poor? About 30,000 children die from hunger every day!
Where is your God? Sleeping? Where are God's followers????
Your religion, like your God are frauds!

- If you are an atheist - there is no objective morality. So not only are abortions acceptable but also infanticide.
If a new male lion takes over a pride he will kill the male babies since they are not his offspring. The logical implcation is that it would be ok for the boyfriend of a divorced woman to kill her children so that his genes will be the ones passed on.

Ralph - Your God is the master of the book of Exodus.
In the book of Exodus chapter 12 verse 28, God writes about one of his early massacres:
So the people of Israel did just as the LORD had commanded through Moses and Aaron. And at midnight the LORD killed all the firstborn sons in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sat on the throne, to the firstborn son of the captive in the dungeon. Even the firstborn of their livestock were killed. Pharaoh and his officials and all the people of Egypt woke up during the night, and loud wailing was heard throughout the land of Egypt. There was not a single house where someone had not died.
Here the death of the children is directly at the hand of God.
In Isaiah chapter 13, God paints this word picture:
Anyone who is captured will be run through with a sword. Their little children will be dashed to death right before their eyes. Their homes will be sacked and their wives raped by the attacking hordes. For I will stir up the Medes against Babylon, and no amount of silver or gold will buy them off. The attacking armies will shoot down the young people with arrows.
They will have no mercy on helpless babies and will show no compassion for the children.
What a lovely image.

onthethirdrail - Master of infanticide... but Ralph atheists are fine with killing hundreds of thousands of babies each year... so what's your beef with God?
You see Ralph, you have no moral ground to stand on. You want to say baby killing is wrong but your all for it - you cut your nose off to spite your face.

Ralph -You will find men like him in all of the world's religions. They know that we Atheists represent reason and science, and, however confident they may be in their beliefs, they fear that we will overthrow their gods. Not necessarily through any deliberate act, but in a subtler fashion. Science can destroy a religion by ignoring it as well as by disproving its tenets. No one ever demonstrated, so far as I am aware, the nonexistence of Zeus or Thor, but they have few followers now.

NHConstitutionalist - Ralph ... I don't believe it. I'm just thunder struck. We Thor followers hold monthly meetings or as the gods allow. But it's good to know, now we can claim minority status and get our special privileges.

onthethirdrail - Ralph, You *believe* you use logic and reason but in actuality your believe are just as faith based as anyone elses. Tell me how do atheist prove:
1) the law of non-contradiction
2) The uniformity of nature
3) Cause and effect
You can't - you have to take it on faith.
The only rational position for someone who rejects God is hyper-skepticism

Ralph - You insult me if you think I would worship an invisible mass murderer called 'God"

onthethirdrail - Hmmm... Interesting response. It sounds like your just emoting. Logic and rationality - not so much.

~ ~

So, what do you think?

We watched the movie "The Conspirator" on Saturday with the kids (Hyrum is into President Lincoln right now) and I don't know for myself all the true facts behind what the movie presented, but I liked the part where the lawyer Frederick Aiken had to defend Mary Surratt, but didn't want to cause he felt/thought she was guilty, so a mentor told him "Prove her guilt then" so as he went to search for proof that she was guilty he rather found reasons why she couldn't be guilty.
Same thing with God, I think if people listened to their reasoning, they'd realize that things that they want to use for proof of their case don't have any ground to stand on WITHOUT there being a God. They don't have proof, their facts don't stand up to scrutiny. CS Lewis was an atheist, but he was logical about it and a great thinker, and he was able to realize that by his saying "God is unjust" because people suffer, that statement proves God exists cause you are appealing to a moral standard, thus there are morals, cause if there aren't morals you don't have a case! Does that make sense? He explains it in his book "Mere Christianity", the first couple chapters set up the reasoning that logically there is a God since there are things that are good and bad. It's an excellent read, a little deep for me, I have to read it slow and piece it apart and put it back together, but I love CS Lewis, he's an amazing thinker.

One more thing - Melodie is doing a paper on Helen Keller, and last night we looked for a memorable quote she said, and when I read this I thought THAT IS AWESOME and thought it was another tally for "There is a God" side:

"Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it." - Helen Keller

Isn't that awesome! Amen I say! Yes, there is suffering! So do you want to be one of the people who sits around in the suffering and complains about it, or are you going to rise above it?
Also this one:

"I do not want the peace which passeth understanding, I want the understanding which bringeth peace." - Helen Keller

So, if anyone doesn't know if there is a God, they could look at Scunnered's arguments, but to me a big red flag is that she sounds angry and bitter, she doesn't have peace or sound happy... I don't want to be like that. Seems like those beliefs she has aren't serving her very well right now in my opinion. And since "right now" is all she thinks she has, I'd like to suggest to her that she change her Belief Box asap and try to find peace. If she does in face have peace then I'm happy for her.

As for me, the Gospel of Jesus Christ brings me peace. I know there is a God, I know that Christ lives and is the Son of God! I am so grateful for the gospel. Ok, one more thing, as we read the scriptures with our kids last week and we talked about Nephi, my 8 year old Hyrum said "Well, how do we know that Nephi was real?" which is a question we just loved! We talked for a good hour with the kids, then as we kissed goodnight, Corey said "You can know if it's true through prayer and by asking. ...but until then, I want you to know that I know it's true. AND I want you to know that without the gospel you would have never been born. Goodnight!" Kinda funny way to send him off into his dreams, I laughed.

Having kids is hard work, but it is soo worth it. We're grateful for that commandment to have a family, there is no greater joy, it's given me joy that I didn't know I wanted or needed.
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