Tuesday, January 31, 2012

He That Receiveth Light

Book of  Mormon Papers - a series of posts
containing papers I wrote for a
BYU Religion class my freshman year of college.

(Note: Re-reading this paper, I can tell this is right after my high school AP English course… on another note, wow! I had forgotten(?) that I knew so much about Nephi’s vision of the interpretation of Lehi’s dream. Also my awareness of Nephi’s humility is good stuff. I think I am a lot more arrogant and prideful than I was when I wrote this paper. Some change is not as good as others… Either way, this is some good stuff! I hope you enjoy it!)

After Lehi recounted his vision, Nephi desired to know for himself of the revelation given to his father. Nephi’s desire led to a vision of interpretation of his father’s dream. What other knowledge did Nephi receive to interpret his father’s vision, and how did the Lord know that Nephi was ready to receive that knowledge? In addition to an interpretation of Lehi’s vision, Nephi received visions of the “condescension of God.” The life, death, and resurrection of Christ, along with the visitation of Christ to the Americas, were shown to Nephi as part of the interpretation because he followed the instructions of the Spirit and of the angel and acknowledged his lack of the wisdom which he desired.

The Spirit of the Lord caused that Nephi should be “caught away” into a mountain, which is symbolic of a temple. There the Spirit asked Nephi, “What desirest thou?” When Nephi professed his belief in the words of his father and his desire to know the interpretation thereof, the Spirit rejoiced, and then commanded Nephi to “Look!” This is the beginning of a pattern that continues throughout Nephi’s vision. Nephi responded faithfully to the request of the Spirit of the Lord saying “I looked and beheld…” What Nephi beheld is important, however it is very interesting that each time the Spirit or the angel bid Nephi “Look!” he looked without hesitation, opening the opportunities for more revelation.

At first, Nephi only received the vision of the tree, yet to more fully explain the interpretation of the tree of life and the love of God, an angel showed to Nephi the birth of Christ. When asked “Knoweth thou the condescension of God?” (1 Nephi 11:16) Nephi answered truthfully responding that he did not know the meaning of all things. He was humble and teachable and willing to receive the knowledge that the Lord was ready to reveal to him. To reveal the interpretation of the iron rod, the Lord showed Nephi his ministry among men during which Christ gave his word to the world, for Christ is the Word. The large and spacious building which represented the pride of the world was shown to Nephi by revealing the crucifixion of Christ, for Christ was “judged of the world…and slain for the sins of the world.” (1 Nephi 11:32-33)

Further interpretation was given when the Lord revealed the righteousness of the Nephites for the four generations following Christ’s visit to the Americas and the subsequent fall into iniquity to illustrate the mists of darkness as the temptations of the devil. (1 Nephi 12:17) Also revealed was the interpretation of the “great and terrible gulf” which was the “word of justice of the Eternal God.”

The vision given to Nephi revealed to him the life and purpose of Jesus Christ. The plan of salvation, as illustrated by the vision of the tree of life, is centered around Christ. He is the reason there is a plan and He is the plan. Therefore, that each part of the tree of life was explained by a revelation of part of Christ’s life and ministry confirms that the vision of the tree of life is symbolic of the plan of salvation. Nephi demonstrated his readiness to the Lord to learn these sacred things by being eager to learn, by looking when bid to look. Man is taught in this day through similar ways. The Lord bids one to “Look!” and the more one obeys that command, the more revelation that will be added to him.

What insights do you have about Lehi’s dream? Have you had times in your life when the Spirit has told you to “look” and when you obeyed you were blessed with personal inspiration and revelation?

Monday, January 30, 2012

Good Cometh of None Save of Me

Plugging along today in the Book of Mormon. I am really enjoying reading in Ether. I have been realizing through this experience of reading the Book of Mormon that I am pretty familiar with the stories of the Book of Mormon, but often less familiar with the words of the Book of Mormon.

For example, I knew all about the scripture in Moroni 7 about anything persuading a man to believe in Christ is from God. But I didn't know about this corollary:

I have said before that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not hold a monopoly on truth. Nor do we, as Mormons, or even as Christians, have a monopoly on following Christ. Every person who does good is following Christ in some way (yes, even Muslims and Jews who do not profess to believe in Christ).

"whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do good is of me; for good cometh of none save it be of me." Ether 4:12

Have you been able to find Christ in unexpected places, by finding things that persuade men to do good?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

The Importance of a Name

(find the talk here)

This talk inspired me to make this with Photoshop. I’m not great with Photoshop, but I think it turned out okay. I loved how Elder M. Russell Ballard dissected the name of the Church and talked about the significance of every part – even the seemingly insignificant article “The” at the beginning of the name.

whatsinaname (please feel free to share this image, pin it, whatever – just make sure to give credit)

I was also somewhat pleased that Elder Ballard’s talk was kind of a follow-up and clarification of President Boyd K. Packer’s talk in April 2011 General Conference when he talked about how important it was to use the full and proper name of the Church and to refer to ourselves as “members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” or simple “Latter-day Saints.” I know many people wondered what was going to happen to the Church’s “I’m a Mormon” campaign, so I am glad that Elder Ballard clarified that for now, it wasn’t going anywhere, but it’s purpose was to teach people who “Mormons” really are (members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints).

Elder Ballard said, “I have thought a lot about why the Savior gave the nine-word name to His restored Church. It may seem long, but if we think of it as a descriptive overview of what the Church is, it suddenly becomes wonderfully brief,candid, and straightforward.” I am sure many people wonder why the Lord decided to give His Church such a mouthful of a name, but, like Elder Ballard pointed out, it is wonderfully descriptive, and rather brief, when you look at all it really says (see image above).

“I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ. Because we believe in the Book of Mormon, which is named after an ancient American prophet-leader and is another testament of Jesus Christ, we are sometimes called Mormons.” I hope that I get the opportunity to use this response to the question “Do you belong to the Mormon Church?” I believe this response can also be appropriate when asked the question “Are you Mormon?” It’s wonderfully succinct and hits all the important points, while validating the person’s question.

Elder Ballard said, “Surely it would be easier for [people] to understand that we believe in and follow the Savior if we referred to ourselves as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” Just think of how the media coverage might be different today if we had spent the last 100+ years referring to ourselves as “members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints”? I do understand that when the Church was first organized it was important to distinguish us from other Christians – and that is still important. We don’t mind being “different” Christians – in fact, it’s the best part of our Church – we are not just another protestant religion. We belong to the restored Church of Jesus Christ.

“The Savior’s name is the only name under heaven by which man can be saved.”

“Do we realize how blessed we are to take upon us the name of God’s Beloved and Only Begotten Son? Do we understand how significant that is?” Do you refer to yourself as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? How do you tell people about the full name of the Church?

Sunday, January 29, 2012

What will ye...?

I just finished Ether chapter 2! I am getting so close! Only 39 pages left! I figure if I can finish Ether tomorrow and Moroni on Tuesday I will have made my goal of finishing the Book of Mormon by the end of January. I think that is totally doable!

I love this part of the story of the Brother of Jared -

When the Brother of Jared asked the Lord how they would have light in their barges, the Lord responded with His own question, "What will ye that I should do?"

The Lord went on to describe the manner in which the Jareditws would be transported across the water, and He went ahead and listed a few things that would not work. Then he asked again, "Therefore what will ye that I should prepare for you that ye may have light when ye are swallowed up in the depths of the sea?"

This scripture always reminds me of the revelation given to Oliver Cowdery in the Doctrine & Covenants after he tries (and fails) to translate the plates. The Lord tells Oliver, "You took no thought save it was to ask me."

The Lord expects us to study out the answers to our own problems, and then go to Him for confirmation or a stupor of thought, or a new thought.

Have you ever had to study the answer to a question in your mind before going to the Lord in prayer? Do you find that you are more able to receive revelation and inspiration when you try to work your problems out on your own first?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday Fragments – One


I tried to have a post scheduled for yesterday, but I totally forgot. Lame. I was going to have one of my Book of Mormon papers post, but I forgot to edit it, and so it will be up on Tuesday. I was going to post two each week (Tues and Thurs – mornings that are rushed around here, rushed = no time for blogging), but I think I may just post one each week.


I am going to start a Saturday linkup called Sunday Reads. It will be a place for people to link to Sunday-appropriate reading material. I will be posting some of my favorites from the week (mostly from LDS.org, but some from really good blogs). I will be posting it on Saturday so that if you’re looking for some good gospel study topics while the kids are napping after Church, you can come over here and get some inspiration. I’m excited, and I hope you’ll share some good stuff with me, so we can all get inspired.


I tutor online for a company that I love. If you are looking for some part time work from home, head over there and apply to be a tutor. Put down Rebecca R as your referral and I get a bonus if you get hired! But really, it’s a great job – super flexible, but helps me keep up my math skills (speaking of which… those are sooo rusty. I feel like my brain hasn’t worked in ages…) I usually tutor at night after the kids go to bed, but sometimes I tutor during naptime as well.


I have been doing loads of laundry today. (ha ha, loads – that’s a pun. Get it?) We have had too much bedwetting lately, and Papai (Portuguese for “daddy”) put the kiddos to bed last night without making sure they went potty before bed. Dad’s seem to be clueless sometimes about that kind of stuff. As a mother, I rarely forget to have the kids go potty before bed. But that’s probably because I’m usually the one changing the wet sheets in the morning and washing peed on clothes and bedding. I could draw a lot of life metaphors from that, but my head hurts right now.


We stayed up waaay too late on Sunday night talking with our good friends. It was an excellent conversation, and I think my mind was opened to a lot of things. It was interesting to hear all the different points of view and the ways people see things. I’ll have to write about it here some day. My goodness, it was a great conversation! Even though we all hardly agreed (the topic was marriage and physical appearances) I feel like I really came away with some new perspective on the whole matter. And it’s always fun to chat with these friends (most people would call it a debate – but it’s a good healthy one, and we’re always still friends afterwards… I hope!)

However, I am still recovering from the lack of sleep the great conversation caused. Seriously, I think we were up until 3 in the morning!

I’ll leave you with this one thought from the conversation – my husband told me at some point (either while we were engaged or shortly after we were married) that before he proposed he asked himself, “Could I still love Becca if she got really fat?” His answer was “Yes” and so he married me. That may sound really strange, but I think it was a really profound and important thing for a man to ask himself before he gets married. And he’s been true to it. I got really plump with my first pregnancy (especially compared to my marriage weight of about 110 lbs) but my husband thought I was beautiful – even after I wasn’t “pregnant” beautiful, but just “postpartum fat”. And I know that he will love me no matter what I look like, ever.


Meet more folks over at Heather’s Five for Friday linkup!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


I am on page 475 of the Book of Mormon. There are 531 pages in the Book of Mormon. I have 56 pages to go. I didn't finish over the weekend (wow it was a crazy - but fun - weekend), so my new goal will be the end of January.

This is kind of the most depressing part of the Book of Mormon. The Nephites are completely wicked and Mormon just stopped leading them - he was finally fed up with their wickedness. I can't imagine living in a society where I was the only righteous person (sometimes I feel like the only wicked person living in a righteous society).

I do really love the fervor of Mormon's testimony at this point. All he wants is for people to repent and come to God.

"And I would that I could persuade all ye ends of the earth to repent and prepare to stand before the judgement-seat of Christ."
Sometimes I feel that way - if only I could persuade everyone to believe in Christ and repent.

Have you ever felt alone like Mormon? What parts of his story stand out to you? What part of his testimony is most meaningful to you?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Personal Witness

Book of  Mormon Papers - a series of posts
containing papers I wrote for a
BYU Religion class my freshman year of college.

(Note: this paper reminds me of the admonition to never take anything the Prophets say at face value – we should always approach Heavenly Father with what we have heard, and ask “diligently” to know “by the power of the Holy Ghost” if the things we have heard are true.  A personal testimony is always better than just hearing it from someone else. It reminds me of the Reading Rainbow series where LeVar says, “But you don’t have to take my word for it.”)

After hearing of Lehi’s visions and prophecies, Nephi discussed his desire to know for himself of the things that to Lehi were revealed. Lehi told of his vision of the tree of life and later went on to prophesy of the coming of Christ. Why was it so important for Nephi to gain such a personal testimony of the words of his father, and why is there no record of his brothers showing similar faith? Instruction has been given that “by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.” (Moroni 10:5) However, it is given on one condition – “if ye shall ask with real intent, having faith in Christ.” (Moroni 10:4) This is real intent and faith that Laman and Lemuel lacked.

Lehi’s prophecies contained many things that may have seemed foolish to some of his less faithful family members. The prophesy that a Messiah or Savior would come to save the world from sin was difficult to understand. Oftentimes, the words of prophesy are not easy to understand and must be accompanied by a mind that “diligently seeketh” (1 Nephi 10:19).

In asking the Lord for a personal testimony of Lehi’s visions and prophecies, Nephi also developed greater faith in the power of the Holy Ghost and in the sameness of God. Nephi states that when he asked he knew that God would answer him because God had answered those “in times of old” (1 Nephi 10:17) and Nephi knew that God would answer all those after him.

In addition to gaining his own testimony, Nephi’s testimony was part of a “special purpose” (1 Nephi 9:3) that the Book of Mormon became in containing “more than one witness” (Alma 10:12) which has more power than the testimony of one. Nephi would add his personal testimony and revelation to the witnesses of several other prophets who had also testified of the coming of Christ – “how great a number had testified of these things, concerning this Messiah.” (1 Nephi 11:5)

Laman and Lemuel, as proven in previous experiences, lacked the faith – or even the desire – to gain a personal testimony of any of their father’s or brother’s teachings. They would not manifest even a desire to understand the prophecies of their father until shortly thereafter, after which Nephi chastises them for failing to “look unto the Lord as they ought.” (1 Nephi 14:3).

Nephi’s inquiry of the Lord not only blessed him in his own spirituality, but also blessed all future generations who would read the multiple witnesses of Christ given in the Book of Mormon. Moreover, Nephi’s testimony of the power of the Holy Ghost is assuring. Nephi testifies that all who are desirous to know can receive that knowledge through the awesome power of the Holy Ghost which is “the gift of God.”

Why do you think it was so important for Nephi to gain his own witness of the visions his father, the prophet, had seen and heard? Is it just as important for us to receive a personal witness of the words of the prophets? How do you gain that witness? Do you seek diligently, and look unto the Lord for that witness?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Love Her Mother

(find the talk here)

I have no idea why I felt inspired to write about this now,  but I think it has something to do with my husband learning how to love me, and our relationship growing and becoming stronger in the past few months.

Early last year, my husband and I got to a place in our marriage that could have been a breaking point. Thankfully, my husband picked up all the broken pieces and really did his best to fix everything. My husband is not your average guy. He is really amazing. Wonderful, really. He has a really hard past. He suffered things as a child that no child should ever have to experience. And the lack of help he received as a child to heal from those experiences has left severe spiritual and emotional scars (scars I didn’t see when we first got married, and scars that he didn’t even know were there). He is starting to heal, and it is a beautiful, but very hard, thing.

We have been married for six years, and those six years have been so hard. Of course marriage is a growing experience, and it isn’t always easy, but I never expected to have to deal with all of this hurt and pain. The thing is, I had a great, “normal”, very safe childhood. My father was a counselor and my mother was an elementary school teacher. Sure they had their faults and weaknesses – but they were, for the most part, normal faults and weaknesses, things that most parents struggle with. In general, my parents were kind, supportive, gentle, wise, and really taught us “the way [we] should go.” I have never really known many people with the kind of hurt and pain my husband has been holding inside for over 20 years. Those were the people who went to see my dad for counseling – people who had suffered hard things and needed help healing. Not me.

And yet, here I am. My husband and I see a marriage counselor just about every week. We have been seeing him since around September of last year, and I really think that he has been able to help my husband heal. There is still a lot of healing ahead (I hope). We’re nowhere near the end, but we are going to get there.

I am learning a lot about how to help my husband, and how to be strong when he is hurting.

And, thanks to the atonement of the Savior, the amazing man in my husband is able to come out from behind the scars and pain. I am learning to have more faith in the Lord’s ability to heal us. My husband has always been a righteous man, and always a very spiritual man. But the hurt from his past had caused such bitter feelings that they were eating away at our marriage. At first, I thought there was something wrong with me. It was really easy to feel that way. I felt like maybe he didn’t really love me.

How foolish! My husband loves me with all of his heart, and always has.

And I guess that is why I am writing about this after studying Sister Elaine S. Dalton’s talk. Because last October when she gave this talk, I didn’t think that my husband loved me, and so I worried about how I was going to raise a righteous daughter in a home where her father didn’t love her mother.

I look back now and realize how wrong I was. He has always loved me.

Sister Dalton said, “Love her mother so much that your marriage is celestial. A temple marriage for time and all eternity is worthy of your greatest efforts and highest priority.”

My husband and I have learned that seeing a marriage counselor is not as embarrassing as it seemed at first. In fact, we love talking to people about what we learned from our marriage counselor. He is an excellent counselor. Our marriage is top priority. And right now, it needs some help. We are putting forth our greatest efforts to protect our marriage and strengthen it.

For Christmas after our daughter was born, I bought my husband this book – Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters by Meg Meeker. I read a little bit of it, and skimmed the rest, but my husband read it cover to cover. She talks about a lot of the principles mentioned by Sister Dalton in her talk. I recommend this book to any father of a daughter.

My favorite thing that Sister Dalton suggested fathers do with their daughters was attend the temple with them. I think that is a fabulous idea! My favorite temple trips were the ones when my father came with us and baptized us.

Here are some other things Sister Dalton suggested fathers can do for their daughters:

You are your daughter’s guardian in more than the legal sense. Be present in your daughter’s life. Let her know your standards, your expectations,your hopes and dreams for her success and happiness. Interview her, get to know her friends and, when the time comes, her boyfriends. Help her understand the importance of education. Help her understand that the principle of modesty is a protection. Help her choose music and media that invite the Spirit and are consistent with her divine identity. Be an active part of her life. And if in her teenage years she should not come home from a date on time, go get her.

I really enjoyed this talk. I apologize for not writing more about the talk, but I really felt inspired to share what has been going on in our marriage. Maybe to let you know that my life isn’t perfect, and we have struggles that are really, really hard – just like everyone else.

We have to rely on the atonement of our Savior for strength, for repentance, and for healing.

What did you get from Sister Dalton’s talk?

Find more insight on this talk (and others) over at
Diapers and Divinity’s General Conference Book Club

Friday, January 20, 2012

A Lion Among the Beasts


As you may know, I tried to finish the Book of Mormon before the end of 2011 and it didn’t happen, and so now I am trying to finish it by the end of the week. (as of Wednesday I have about 80 pages to go!)

My husband told me that I will probably have to do a less thorough reading to get through it in that time, but I was sure I would be able to get through it quickly while still studying and gleaning.

Then I hit 3 Nephi 20. You think 2 Nephi is hard, try reading 3 Nephi 20. I kept reading, even though I didn’t really understand what the Savior was talking about, and about a page and a half into chapter 20 I decided that I really needed to understand what was going on here.

I went back to verse 10, when the Savior starts talking about the remnant of Israel. I read it over and over again and I still couldn’t figure it out. I was a little unnerved that I couldn’t understand this passage, and so I finally prayed for Heavenly Father to open my mind and my hearts (“and their hearts were open and they did understand in their hearts the words which [Christ] prayed” – 3 Nephi 19:33).

And then I went back and read it again.

Behold now I finish the commandment which the Father hath commanded me concerning this people, who are a remnant of the house of Israel.”

Great. I’ve got this – the Nephites are a remnant of the house of Israel, and Christ had to come to the Nephites, because that was part of God’s plan. That’s all stuff I knew from seminary.

Ye remember that I spake unto you, and said that when the words of Isaiah should be fulfilled – behold they are written, ye have them before you, therefore search them – And verily, verily, I say unto you, that when they shall be fulfilled then is the fulfilling of the covenant which the Father hath made unto his people, O house of Israel.”

I had to stop here for a second and ask myself, “What words of Isaiah is the Savior talking about? Obviously not all of them, since there are some words that haven’t been fulfilled yet. And what covenant is He talking about?” The covenant God made with Israel was that Christ would come to them, and that He would gather His people. Also, that when Christ would come, the Mosaic law (which was part of the original covenant with Israel) would be fulfilled.

“And then shall the remnants, which shall be scattered abroad upon the face of the earth, be gathered in from the east and from the west, and from the south and from the north; and they shall be brought to the knowledge of the Lord their God, who hath redeemed them.”

The first line of this verse caught me off guard for a minute - “the remnants, which shall be scattered” – but I thought the House of Israel had already been scattered? And then I realized that he was talking about scattering the remnants of the House of Israel – the Nephites/Lamanites. We can see the “scattering” of the Nephites and Lamanites all over the American continents today.

Then the Savior must be talking about more of the words of Isaiah than just the Messianic prophecies. And the covenant He is talking about here must be the covenant to gather Israel.

Much clearer now (Note to self: praying before reading complex scripture passages is a great idea)

“And the Father hath commanded me that I should give unto you this land, for your inheritance.”

Also a well-known fact – America is the “promised land”.

“And I say unto you, that if the Gentiles do not repent after the blessing which they shall receive, after they have scattered my people –”

Here I am pretty sure the Savior is getting ready to talk about what will happen if the Gentiles don’t accept the gospel after they scatter the Nephites and the Lamanites and are given the promised land – remember, the Gentiles were given America as well to restore the gospel, because of the wickedness and eventual apostasy of the Nephites.

“Then shall ye, who are a remnant of the house of Jacob, go forth among them; and ye shall be in the midst of them who shall be many; and ye shall be among them as a lion among the beasts of the forest, and as a young lion among the flocks of sheep, who, if he goeth through both treadeth down and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver. Thy hand shall be lifted up upon thing adversaries, and all thine enemies shall be cut off.”

This is where I got stuck again. My first thought was that if the Gentiles reject the gospel, the Lord will allow the remnant of the Lamanites (the native people of the Americas) to destroy the Gentiles. *(see note at bottom of post)

(Image Source: Animal Planet)

Because I don’t like to speculate, I pulled out my old Book of Mormon seminary manual to see if there was anything in there. Nope. Just the “gathering of Israel” part. I even checked out this commentary video on BYUtv about it, but they did the same thing – talked about how important the words of Isaiah are, and about the gathering of Israel.

No one seemed to mention these verses, so I headed to Google (which I only use as a last resort when it comes to gospel study – I don’t like to find a bunch of stuff written by crazy people…)

I came across this blog, Feast Upon the Word, and discovered a series of posts discussing just this topic! The author is … very educated, it seems, and the posts are not for the faint at heart (I had to move to my desktop computer to read them, instead of my phone – it was really that intense – and I had to actually look up a few words he used online. And I consider myself pretty well educated with a decent size vocabulary).

I have a feeling that in order to really understand this part of 3 Nephi I am going to have to dedicate some time to studying Isaiah 52 and Micah 4-5, so I probably will just “skim” through these chapters and pick out what I can for now while I am trying to finish the Book of Mormon.

I am excited to study these passages in more depth, and hope to do so in the next few weeks!

*Turns out this passage is simply talking about the power of the House of Israel during the gathering of Israel to teach the gospel to the Gentiles and purify them. The Gentiles who won’t accept the gospel will be cut off from Heavenly Father.

Have you ever been absolutely stumped by a passage of scripture? Have you prayed to be able to understand the scriptures better? Where do you look for help understanding passages that stump you? Do you have thoughts on these passages in 3 Nephi?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Strength Through Adversity

Book of  Mormon Papers - a series of posts 
containing papers I wrote for a 
BYU Religion class my freshman year of college.

(Note: This is the first paper I wrote in my freshman Book of Mormon class at BYU in the fall of 2004. I have learned a lot since I took that class - I have learned a lot about repentance, forgiveness, and trials. I will admit I was - and probably still am - a naive, inexperienced young woman. The things that stand out to me about what I wrote here are Nephi's "frank forgiveness" of his brethren - charity anyone? - and the reminder that faith produces miracles, not the other way around. As I was reading this paper, I was a little surprised at the ... finality of my conclusion. It is important to understand that what Alma said about the blood of the innocent crying out in judgement against with wicked is true - however, in the past year or so, I have become increasingly aware of the fact that God will give us every opportunity to change - up until judgement day. And if we do repent and partake in the atonement, we can and will be forgiven of all of our sins - even the ones that seem very serious.)

While Lehi and his family journeyed in the wilderness, Nephi was often ridiculed by his older brothers Laman and Lemuel.  At one point, his brothers even beat Nephi and their other brother Sam with rods.  Why when Nephi was so righteous, blessed, and even “chosen” did the Lord allow his brothers to bind him and beat him at various occasions?  Not only did all of his trials help to strengthen Nephi, but they also allowed his brothers to witness on several occasions the power of God, making their punishment for sinning against the Almighty even more serious.
            The Lord has said that “where much is given, much is required.” (D&C 82:3)  Nephi was blessed, as he himself stated, with “goodly parents” (1 Nephi 1:1) and with many other blessings he describes throughout the section.  Because Nephi was given so many great blessings, he was required to endure more than others may be required to endure.  Countless times Nephi records statements from the Lord to himself saying “Blessed art thou, Nephi” (1 Nephi 2:19) and “thou shalt be made a ruler and a teacher over thy brethren” (1 Nephi 2:22).  Nephi was truly chosen of the Lord who only gave him trial after trial to prove him and strengthen him.  Nephi grew in patience and in love toward his brothers as he “frankly [forgave] them all that they had done.” (1 Nephi 7:21).  That kind of frank forgiveness can only come from one who has accepted the challenges of the Lord and looks at those challenges in a spiritually positive light.
            Every time Laman and Lemuel were involved in mocking, abusing, or ridiculing their younger brother, the power of God was made manifest to them.  When Nephi and his brothers returned to Jerusalem to obtain the plates of brass, Laman and Lemuel beat Nephi and Sam and stopped only with the appearance of an angel (1 Nephi 3:29).  Later when Laman and Lemuel bound Nephi in the wilderness and left him for dead, by the power of God, Nephi broke the bonds with which he was bound (1 Nephi 7:17-18).  Unfortunately, even these miracles of God did not convert Nephi’s brethren because they had no faith.  “Miracles do not produce faith... faith comes by righteousness” (BD Faith).  The Lord said to Nephi, “…inasmuch as they brethren shall rebel against thee, they shall be cut off from the presence of the Lord.” (1 Nephi2:21).  Not only does the Lord allow bad things to happen to good people for the growth and development of the righteous, but also so that “the blood of the innocent shall stand as a witness against [the wicked], yea, and cry mightily against them at the last day” (Alma14:11)
            The Lord allowed Nephi to be bruised and afflicted by his brethren for Nephi’s own personal growth regarding his brothers and others.  Laman and Lemuel’s judgment was also sealed by their actions toward Nephi and the other righteous members of Lehi’s family.

What lessons have you learned from Nephi and his family in the Book of Mormon?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Button, Button, Who's got the Button

I have been thinking for a while that I needed a button for this blog. So, after much ado (well, not really, just a few minutes of photoshopping) I present ... My Soul Delighteth's very own button! I hope you like it (and I hope you use it ;) ) If you have a button for your blog, let me know and I will add it to my sidebar. I have quite a few buttons up, and I usually try to visit the blogs of people who comment on my blog (if you are reading but haven't commented, let me know you're out there so I can come see your blog, too!)

I also made new Facebook and Twitter buttons, and a Pinterest button, and a button for my email and RSS feeds, too. Hopefully those are useful.

So what are you waiting for? Grab my button!

My Soul Delighteth - Button
<a href="http://delightinscripture.blogspot.com/" target="_blank" title="My Soul Delighteth"> <img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-UAKZazfKxFE/TxUO9-sK2BI/AAAAAAAAShg/87ane7YTv-4/s200/blogbutton.png" alt="My Soul Delighteth - Button" /></a>

"not lost unto the Father"

In 3 Nephi, the Savior comes to the Nephites and says "ye are they they of whom I said: Other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd."

I love this clarification that the Lord gives us.

Later He also says, "I ... show myself unto the lost tribes of Israel, for they are not lost unto the Father, for he knoweth whither he hath taken them."

We talk a lot in the Church about the "lost sheep" or the "one and the ninety and nine" - we talk about bringing them into the fold. In our ward councils we make plans to find them and fellowship them.

They may be lost to us, but they are never lost to the Father.

We may feel lost sometimes, but the Father always knows us and knows where we are. We cannot be lost to Him. He can always find us, and He will always bring us home if we will let Him.

Have you ever looked for a "lost sheep"? Have you ever been a "lost sheep"? Have you ever felt lost? Do you know that the Father always knows where you are?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Book of Mormon Papers

Students at Brigham Young University are required to take religion classes. The first religion class you usually take is Religion 121: Book of Mormon. Religion classes at BYU are usually taught by religion professors. My first Book of Mormon class was actually taught by a Mechanical Engineering professor. I was part of what BYU called “Freshman Academy” where you have three or four classes with the same group of students. One of those classes was Religion 121, and since we were all engineering students, an engineering professor taught our Book of Mormon class.

Not to minimize the effect of having dedicated religion professors, but my Book of Mormon class with Brother Jordan Cox was the best religion class I ever had. We basically had one standing assignment in Bro Cox’s class, and that was to read the assigned chapters in the Book of Mormon, and then write a one page paper in which we asked a question and answered it with the words from the reading assignment. He didn’t care how much we wrote, what size font we used, or the size of the margins – it just had to be one page.

The two midterms and the finals were also papers. One on the words of Isaiah, one of the Church of the Lamb of God, and for our final, we were supposed to write about our testimony.

I still have the copies of almost every paper I wrote for that class, and over the next little while I am going to post those papers on this blog. I am really excited to share these papers with you, and I hope you enjoy them.

Since the Book of Mormon is broken into two semesters of classes at BYU, these papers only cover the first half of the Book of Mormon. My goal this year is to continue the Book of Mormon papers that I wrote that Freshman year and write papers for the second half of the Book of Mormon, the same way.

I am really looking forward to it!

How do you study the Book of Mormon? Did you take a Book of Mormon religion class at a Church-sponsored university, or a Book of Mormon institute class?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Perfect Love Casteth Out All Fear

(find the talk here)

I love to share the gospel. I enjoy posting links to Mormon Messages and “I’m a Mormon” ads on my personal Facebook page. I love to talk to people about Christ, and the scriptures.

Maybe it’s because I was raised in the Evangelical south, maybe it’s because my father is a convert, maybe it’s because I am not a very private person and I really like to talk. Whatever the reason, I have rarely experienced fear in talking about the gospel.

I was really grateful for Elder L. Tom Perry’s talk at General Conference. He seemed to lay out – in no uncertain terms – how we should be sharing the gospel.

“First, we must be bold in our declaration of Jesus Christ.”

Growing up I had a lot of really close friends who were very religious Christians, and I think that it was their example of testifying of Christ that I follow in being “bold” in my declaration of Jesus Christ. My Evangelical Christian friends were always proclaiming Christ (both with their actions and with their words). I specifically remember in high school participating in “See You at the Pole” where a group of students came early to school and joined hands around the flagpole in front of our public school and took turns praying, whether in our hearts or out loud. It was a really interesting experience for me, since I was one of only six LDS students at my school (my younger sister being another of the six). I was so impressed that so many students were unashamed to be there, praying in front of the school. Certainly I am sure there were students there who were maybe there to “be seen” – but I knew several of the students there personally, and I knew that they had great faith in Christ, and believed in God.

“We declare our belief in Jesus Christ and accept Him as our Savior. He willbless us and guide us in all of our efforts. As we labor here in mortality,He will strengthen us and bring us peace in time of trials. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints walk by faith in Him whose Church it is.”

“Second, be righteous examples to others.”

Again, growing up, I was able to join with the righteous example of my fellow Christians, even though they were of other faiths. My friends used clean language, they kept themselves morally pure, they were quick to help and serve, they were honest, trustworthy, responsible teenagers. They lived the gospel of Jesus Christ. They truly acted as Jesus would have them act.

I have noticed the scripture from 1 Timothy 4:12 has been quoted several times in the last two or three conferences. “But be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints we need to let our lives be proof of our faith in Jesus Christ.

My sister and I babysat a lot when we were younger. Usually we would tend for the same families – whoever was available would take the job. We mostly worked for families in the ward. One summer, however, I had a daily job tending for one of my dad’s coworkers, and my sister occasionally helped out. They also had a friend who we would occasionally sit for. This friend emailed my dad one day and said, “Those girls are so happy and cheerful, and so responsible! What’s their secret?” or something (I’m paraphrasing). We were able to share with that family that we are so happy because of our knowledge of the gospel. We were also able to share with them the doctrine of eternal families. They had an older daughter who had passed away several years before we met them, and we gave them pamphlets and the video “The Road Home.”

Jocelyn blogged about this exact thing the other day - "Why Mormons Smile So Much”. If we have a testimony of Christ and have really received the Spirit, we can’t help but smile! The gospel is a “plan of happiness” – hence the smiling.

“Next, speak up about the Church.”

I was blessed to be able to speak freely about religion with my friends. They didn’t fully understand the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints, and I was probably not very good at explaining things for them. However, our conversations were usually “two way” – as Elder Perry has suggested they be, “When our professional and personal associates inquire about our religious beliefs, they are inviting us to share who we are and what we believe…Your associates are not inviting you to teach, preach, expound, or exhort. Engage them in a two-way conversation—share something about your religious beliefs but also ask them about their beliefs. Gauge the level of interest by the questions they ask. If they are asking a lot of questions, focus the conversation on answering those questions. Always remember that it is better for them to ask than for you to tell.”

I think that many people are uncomfortable talking to Mormons about their religion because they are worried that we’re going to go all “missionary” on them. If we would simply answer their questions and even ask questions about their faith, we would be able to be much more effective in sharing the gospel. I had a recent experience where I was able to ask question about Job’s Daughters, a program sponsored by the Free Masons that is similar to Boy Scouts. It was a really great opportunity to get to know more about what my friend was involved in, spiritually. We never talked much about the Church, since I was the one asking questions about a program she participated in, but showing interest in the beliefs of another person can build bridges that they may feel comfortable crossing in the future. This friend happens to know more about the Church than your average person, but perhaps now she will come to me when she has questions about the Church, and I can answer them for her.

If you are a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and you haven’t already, I encourage you to go to Mormon.org and create your profile (you will need your membership number which is on your temple recommend, or you can get it from your ward membership clerk). If you aren’t a member, I encourage you to go to Mormon.org and browse through the profiles of other members there, and the answers to FAQs posted on the site by members of the Church.

I recommend Elder Perry’s talk as required reading material for every member of the Church – especially those who are either afraid to share the gospel, or those who scare people off when they are trying to share the gospel.

How do you share the gospel with your friends? Do you have a two-way conversation about faith and religion? Do you ask your friends questions about their faith? Are you an “example of the believers”? How do you declare Jesus Christ?

Find more insight on this talk (and others) over at
Diapers and Divinity’s General Conference Book Club

Exactly One Line

(find the talk here – The Book of Mormon – A Book from God)

You may not know this about me, but a few years ago I finished my bachelors degree in Mathematics with a minor in Physics from Brigham Young University. I love math. I even love geometry. I didn’t at first, but the more I studied physics, the more I realized I loved geometry.

One of the basic postulates of geometry is that through any two points there is exactly one line. When I heard this postulate spoken of in General Conference by Elder Tad R. Callister I almost cheered! I love when the General Authorities talk about math and science concepts in Conference. I feel that there is something really divine about math and science.

But I digress.

The Book of Mormon. Elder Callister says that with it there is no middle ground, “It is either the word of God as professed, or it is a total fraud.” From a logical viewpoint, this makes sense. It can’t just be a “good book,” since it talks about the atonement of Jesus Christ and professes that Jesus Christ is the Son of God it either has to be from the devil or from God – because you can’t just write an untrue book about Jesus Christ without it being false. So either Joseph Smith received gold plates from an angel and translated them by the power of God as he said he did, or he was possessed by the devil and conjured up this book.

Elder Callister compared it to C. S. Lewis’ argument of why a person must either accept or reject the divinity of Jesus Christ – not merely think of him as a “good person” or a “prophet.” Said C. S. Lewis,

“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.’That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. …You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God:or else a madman or something worse. … But let us not come with any patronising nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”

I love C. S. Lewis. I enjoy a little bit of logic when it comes to the gospel – even though the ultimate test of truth comes through the Holy Ghost.

Back to the geometry lesson -  Elder Callister described why we need both the Bible and the Book of Mormon.

The principles of geometry state that there are an infinite number of lines that can be draw through one point. In every direction – not just the lines we can think of on a plane, but an entire space. Lines going everywhere! Who wouldn’t be confused with all those possibilities?

But add just one more point, and suddenly you have only one possibility – through any two points there is exactly one line. There are absolutely no other possibilities.

When you think of it that way, it is easy to see why there is only one true Church of Jesus Christ, and why that Church is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints. The doctrine of the Church is based on the Bible and the Book of Mormon, together as testaments of Jesus Christ. As Elder Callister puts it, “Only one interpretation of Christ’s doctrines survives the testimony of these two witnesses.”

In his talk, Elder Callister described several instances where the Book of Mormon clarifies doctrine put forth in the Bible, but says, “none is more powerful nor poignant than the Book of Mormon’s discourses on the Atonement of Jesus Christ.” I love reading about the Savior, both in the gospels, and in the epistles of Paul in which he teaches people about the Savior. I love reading the words of Isaiah, which are rich in prophesies of the Savior. But by far my favorite place to read about the Savior and His mission is in the Book of Mormon. Some of my favorite passages are Mosiah chapter 4 and Alma chapter 42 – although nearly every page is full of testimonies of the Savior and His mission and atonement. There is something about reading the Book of Mormon that seems to pull me toward the Savior. My thoughts are turned to the Savior more often, my life is more in line with the teachings of the Savior, and my testimony of His divinity and atonement is strengthened.

In the Book of Mormon, Moroni teaches, “For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.” Which is exactly what the Savior taught when He said, “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every … house divided against itself shall not stand. And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?” So, the Savior himself taught that if anything persuades people to believe in Him, it must be of God – because Satan cannot persuade people to believe in Christ, otherwise he would be divided against himself.

The Book of Mormon draws me closer to Christ almost involuntarily – without even trying, it pulls me to the Savior with an indescribable force. Then, as the Savior himself taught, it must be of God.

To any who have not read the Book of Mormon and think they know whether the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true Church of Christ, I tell you that you cannot know if it is true if you do not know whether or not the Book of Mormon is true. Elder Callister testified, “An honest, unbiased reading of the Book of Mormon will bring someone to the same conclusion as my great-great-grandfather, namely: ‘The devil could not have written it—it must be from God.’”

And as the 14 year old girl testified, “I have read every page of the Book of Mormon and I know it’s true.”

I, too, have read every page of the Book of Mormon, and I know it is of God. Every page draws me close to the Savior and testifies of Him. How grateful I am for its power and its truths.

How do you know the Book of Mormon is true? Have you experienced “an honest, unbiased reading of the Book of Mormon”? Do you judge the truthfulness of the Church without having read that book?

Find more insight on this talk over at
Diapers and Divinity’s General Conference Book Club

Sunday, January 15, 2012

I should have kept my mouth shut

Well, I got a new calling (two actually, but that’s another story) a few weeks before Christmas – choir director! Which wasn’t a huge surprise – what was mostly surprising was that it took them so long. That was probably because when we started attending this ward I complained (only a little!) about having had so many music callings, and I kind of just wanted to try out something else, you know?

Well, it turns out that callings are actually from Heavenly Father and we don’t get to pick, and I will probably be a choir director for the rest of my life (or in some other music calling) and I have finally realized that I don’t mind that one bit! I love music. Love it. I am passionate about music, especially music in the Church.

So, I gave a talk in Sacrament meeting several years ago when I was the choir director for a different ward (I posted an edited version of that talk here). One of the talks I read in preparation for that talk was Elder Dallin H. Oaks’ talk in November 1994 General Conference titled “Worship through Music.”

Last week I was talking with one of the counselors in the bishopric and he mentioned that the Bishop was thinking about spending some time during Ward Conference (in two weeks) talking about singing during Sacrament meeting, because he had noticed that a lot of the members of our ward don’t even pick up the hymnbook during the hymns. I mentioned that I had given that talk on the importance of music and had read that amazing talk by Elder Oaks addressing the exact topic!

That’s where I should’ve kept my mouth shut.

Because now I am giving that talk (well, another edit of it, since the other talk was actually about teaching children music) in Sacrament meeting next week.

And leading the choir in a special musical number.

Good thing I already taught today in Relief Society (oh yeah, I have three callings – but they call the RS teacher and ward organist “part time” callings…). I wonder how long until my ward gets sick of seeing me? (my husband and I gave talks in October, the same day that I gave the lesson in Relief Society. It was great).


In other news, my two year old came down from bed a little while ago with my economy Book of Mormon clutched to her chest. She loves the Book of Mormon, and she can’t even read yet! She mostly just loves carrying it around with her – but she doesn’t carry around any other book – just the Book of Mormon. In fact, she just fell asleep on the couch beside me snuggling it like a teddy bear.

All I know is seeing her hugging the Book of Mormon made my heart swell. I love my kids. Being a mother is the greatest thing I have ever done, and I love it. Absolutely love it. I try to remind myself how much I love it every day – especially when I am tempted to complain about how hard it is. It is hard! But what good things aren’t?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Friday Fragments – Enough to Do

Oh life has been exciting in the past month that I have been scarce around the blog. We got sick, then we got better, then my family came to visit for Christmas, then they left, then we got sick again, and in the middle of all this I had to report a friend to CPS.

That is a long story, and I had a lot of turmoil about it for the past few weeks, but as the days go by I realize how right it was. It felt really right when I did it, and then I  had a hard time with it, and then I worried that it wouldn’t be enough to protect the kids, and then I realized that sometimes we just have to let go, and let God.

Which I have a really hard time doing.

I love the military, really, I do. My husband has had some amazing opportunities this past year, and is currently having another great opportunity. These opportunities are also opportunities for me. Opportunities for me to realize how I love having a husband and not being a single mom, and for me to learn how to do life on my own. Thankfully I’m not completely without him – we get to call each other and text message and things.

Also, I have to acknowledge how grateful I am that he hasn’t been deployed. His military assignments are much more benign. Although I wouldn’t mind him being deployed (after all, that’s what we signed up for), I am very grateful that he has not been in harms way at all.

Anyway, this is single-mom run #1 for the year. I know there will be at least two more times – well, actually just one long run, where his unit will be taking him out of one exotic location and sending him to another. Ha ha. After the fact, I am going to tell you all about what he said to me yesterday about it. It was so funny. And I had just told him that I have noticed he has a hard time seeing all of the great things in his life.


My daughter did what I  hoped she would never do…


She cut her own hair.

IMG_0493 IMG_0495

In the picture on the left you can see where she gave herself some “bangs” (… 1/2” bangs…) and on the right you can see she wanted to add some layers… unfortunately the shortest layers were pretty short, even though her hair looks like it is still pretty long.

IMG_0498The hair stylist was great and did fabulous repair job, but her hair is so short now! I am hoping to grows back fast.

The blessing in all of this? I don’t have to be the first one to have her hair cut. I had been thinking about it for a while – how and when we would decide to trim her hair – because all hair needs a trim. I probably would have waited until she asked for a haircut, which may not have been ever. Now, that first baby haircut is out of the way, and I didn’t even have to agonize over it!

If you haven’t heard of Sista Laurel and Sista Beehive over at As Sistas in Zion, you should really check them out. They are hilarious. I love those girls. They had a particularly funny post up today about the kid with the viral “Mormon on Drugs” video (which I haven’t watched) in which they talked about how famous Mormons serve “cannery missions.” Ha ha. It was funny.

My post Look Up When you Can’t Sing was featured over at yourLDSblog.com (which I had never heard of before). I got so many visits from that link it was unreal. I don’t know if anyone who came from over there is still checking me out, but welcome, if you are! I hope you enjoy this blog!

Meet some more friendly folks
over at Heather’s
Women in the Scriptures blog!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Come, Let Us Anew

I have started writing this post a few times in the past week… but things have been crazy, and I didn’t think I could just jump back into blogging without explaining my absence, or at least incorporating my reasons into a post.

Remember this talk by President Uchtdorf a few years ago? He talked about slowing down when life gets crazy and focusing on the most important things. I love this blog – I love studying the gospel in depth and writing about the things I am learning. However, over the Christmas holiday we had 10 extra people in our house (including 3 extra children) and most days there were between 2 and 4 extra dogs. We have a relatively roomy home, but with that many people it was all I could do to keep up with my own chores/family and spend time with my parents, brothers and sisters and their children and dogs.

So basically, the blog went on hold, and I spent some much needed quality time with my mom and dad and siblings. We haven’t all been together since my brother passed away last summer. And my other older brother was able to be sealed to his wife’s twins from her first marriage. It was a really great time, and I had to fight the urge to spend time blogging – it would have made me frustrated and stressed (as if there wasn’t enough stress from having so many people to cook for and clean up after.)

I had to remind myself to follow President Uchtdorf’s advice about slowing down through turbulence.

My dear brothers and sisters, we would do well to slow down a little, proceed at the optimum speed for our circumstances, focus on the significant, lift up our eyes, and truly see the things that matter most.

The optimum speed for my circumstances over Christmas and New Year were reading my Book of Mormon as much as I could (even though I didn’t end up finishing before the new year) and writing as often as possible in my journal, attending Church meetings, spending time with my family playing games and eating, and doing what chores I could afterwards.

My husband left for a TDY assignment last Monday, and the rest of my family left the next day, so after a full house for nearly two weeks, it’s now just me and the kids for a few weeks.

I am left musing over the new year and resolutions and the atonement and basically feeling a suddenly drop in pressure.

Basically, let me just sum up my thoughts about the New Year:

1.) the atonement is a daily-use principle, and allows us to make “resolutions” each day, as if it were a new year every day of the year
2.) I usually make long-term goals at General Conference time each year – April and October – so there’s my excuse for not making any New Year’s resolutions.
3.) my husband and I talked about having a family theme for each year (we never have before, but we think we should start). More about that when he gets back.

Looking back, I would say 2011 was “the best of times, and the worst of times” for me. Between 2010 and 2011… well, let’s just say life has not been what I expected it to be. That’s the thing about life and relationships. You don’t know what is in store, and you cannot predict the behavior of other people. Period. I am trying to learn how to live my life the right way, and it is hard. The Lord has counseled me to stay in close contact with Him so I can know His will for me, and I think that is going to be my personal theme this year.

This year, 2012, will be the year I figure out how to live my life the way Heavenly Father wants me to live it. Not the way I think I should live it, or the way I think He wants me to live it – rather, I will seek personal revelation and inspiration so that I can actually live my life the way He wants me to. So that every thought, word, and deed is what He wants for me.

So, “come, let us anew our journey pursue”!

Do you make New Year’s resolutions? Do you use the atonement daily? What are your thoughts on the new year?

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