1. I easily fall into temptation; how can I change that?

    We all ask soul searching questions in our quest for truth. These questions of the soul can be answered with a study of The Book of Mormon. When asking “I easily fall into temptation; how can I change that?” reference these scriptures:

    "Awake, my soul! No longer droop in sin. Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for the enemy of my soul.

    Do not anger again because of mine enemies. Do not slacken my strength because of mine afflictions.

    Rejoice, O my heart, and cry unto the Lord, and say: O Lord, I will praise thee forever; yea, my soul will rejoice in thee, my God, and the rock of my salvation.

    O Lord, wilt thou redeem my soul? Wilt thou deliver me out of the hands of mine enemies? Wilt thou make me that I may shake at the appearance of sin?

    May the gates of hell be shut continually before me, because that my heart is broken and my spirit is contrite! O Lord, wilt thou not shut the gates of thy righteousness before me, that I may walk in the path of the low valley, that I may be strict in the plain road!

    O Lord, wilt thou encircle me around in the robe of thy righteousness! O Lord, wilt thou make a way for mine escape before mine enemies! Wilt thou make my path straight before me! Wilt thou not place a stumbling block in my way—but that thou wouldst clear my way before me, and hedge not up my way, but the ways of mine enemy.

    O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm.

    Yea, I know that God will give liberally to him that asketh. Yea, my God will give me, if I ask not amiss; therefore I will lift up my voice unto thee; yea, I will cry unto thee, my God, the rock of my righteousness. Behold, my voice shall forever ascend up unto thee, my rock and mine everlasting God. Amen,” (2 Nephi 4:28-35)

    "Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, ye must watch and pray always lest ye enter into temptation; for Satan desireth to have you, that he may sift you as wheat.

    Therefore ye must always pray unto the Father in my name;

    And whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is right, believing that ye shall receive, behold it shall be given unto you,” (3 Nephi 18:18-20)

     
  2. San Antonio, Texas temple

     

  3. "I say unto you, my son, that I have had great joy in thee already, because of thy faithfulness and thy diligence, and thy patience and thy long-suffering among the people of the Zoramites."
    — Alma 38:3
     

  4. Savior, Redeemer of my Soul

    Below is my commentary on a moving hymn, number 112 in our Hymnal:

    "Savior, Redeemer of my soul,
    Whose mighty hand hath made me whole,”

    The power of redemption is often underplayed. Elder Christofferson gave a brilliant talk about the title of Redeemer. We cannot be made whole, or feel complete, without the power of our Savior. He alone erases those feelings of inadequacy, fills in the holes in our heart, and gives purpose to our lives.

    "Whose wondrous pow’r hath raised me up
    And filled with sweet my bitter cup!”

    Awesome and awe-inspiring used to mean the same thing. The atonement truly is awe-inspiring, wonderful, and incomprehensible. He makes our lives sweet, and brings joy to our hearts. No matter how bitter our lives may feel, no matter how hard our trials may be, He alone can blot out that pain. He cleanses our hearts.

    "What tongue my gratitude can tell,
    O gracious God of Israel.”

    It is difficult to express our feelings of gratitude for the power of redemption in our lives. Because He saves us, takes away our pains and replaces them with joy, we struggle to express our thanks. He is a merciful, gracious God.

    "Never can I repay thee, Lord,
    But I can love thee.”

    We often misunderstand the atonement and our covenants. We will never be exhalted without His power. There is nothing we could ever do to repay His sacrifice. But all He asks is for us to love Him. If we love Him, we will follow His commandments. Our power alone is insignificant compared to His majesty. We do not earn our salvation, nor can we pay back our debt.

    "Thy pure word,
    Hath it not been my one delight,
    My joy by day, my dream by night?”

    Do we treasure His word all day and night? Do we let it inspire our hearts? Is it the solid foundation of delight in our lives? If not, why? If we truly love Him, and wish to feel His power of redemption, we must treasure His words. We must study His life, and His teachings, as found in the word of God.

    "Then let my lips proclaim it still,
    And all my life reflect thy will.”

    Devotion is a powerful idea. To give up yourself in the pursuit of a higher and nobler ideal. If we are to become His disciples we must let our lives reflect His. Others should see our lives, and feel the Savior’s influence.

    "O’errule mine acts to serve thine ends.
    Change frowning foes to smiling friends.”

    We are mortal and make mistakes. The sooner we accept this reality, the sooner we can ask for help in changing. He can take our feeble attempts and make them great. He can change foes into friends.

    "Chasten my soul till I shall be
    In perfect harmony with thee.”

    This prayer is perhaps the most sincere of the hymn. When we ask for chastening, our hearts are in tune with the will of the Lord. Asking for help in becoming righteous is a divine and sincere desire.

    "Make me more worthy of thy love,
    And fit me for the life above.”

    Help us to be worthy of thy love. We are mortals, doomed to error and mistake, but all we wish is to be worthy of thy mercy. We can never earn it, and we are always indebted to thee.

     

  5. "Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success."
    — Alma 26:27
     
  6. San Antonio, Texas temple

     

  7. "Like most things of great worth, knowledge, which is of eternal value, comes only through personal prayer and pondering"
    — President Boyd K. Packer
     

  8. Aren’t All Churches True?

    We all ask soul searching questions in our quest for truth. These questions of the soul can be answered with a study of The Book of Mormon. When asking “Aren’t all churches true?” reference these scriptures:

    "And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld that they did prosper in the land; and I beheld a book, and it was carried forth among them.

    And the angel said unto me: Knowest thou the meaning of the book?

    And I said unto him: I know not.

    And he said: Behold it proceedeth out of the mouth of a Jew. And I, Nephi, beheld it; and he said unto me: The book that thou beholdest is a record of the Jews, which contains the covenants of the Lord, which he hath made unto the house of Israel; and it also containeth many of the prophecies of the holy prophets; and it is a record like unto the engravings which are upon the plates of brass, save there are not so many; nevertheless, they contain the covenants of the Lord, which he hath made unto the house of Israel; wherefore, they are of great worth unto the Gentiles.

    And the angel of the Lord said unto me: Thou hast beheld that the book proceeded forth from the mouth of a Jew; and when it proceeded forth from the mouth of a Jew it contained the fulness of the gospel of the Lord, of whom the twelve apostles bear record; and they bear record according to the truth which is in the Lamb of God.

    Wherefore, these things go forth from the Jews in purity unto the Gentiles, according to the truth which is in God.

    And after they go forth by the hand of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, from the Jews unto the Gentiles, thou seest the formation of that great and abominable church, which is most abominable above all other churches; for behold, they have taken away from the gospel of the Lamb many parts which are plain and most precious; and also many covenants of the Lord have they taken away.

    And all this have they done that they might pervert the right ways of the Lord, that they might blind the eyes and harden the hearts of the children of men.

    Wherefore, thou seest that after the book hath gone forth through the hands of the great and abominable church, that there are many plain and precious things taken away from the book, which is the book of the Lamb of God.

    And after these plain and precious things were taken away it goeth forth unto all the nations of the Gentiles; and after it goeth forth unto all the nations of the Gentiles, yea, even across the many waters which thou hast seen with the Gentiles which have gone forth out of captivity, thou seest—because of the many plain and precious things which have been taken out of the book, which were plain unto the understanding of the children of men, according to the plainness which is in the Lamb of God—because of these things which are taken away out of the gospel of the Lamb, an exceedingly great many do stumble, yea, insomuch that Satan hath great power over them,” (1 Nephi 13:20-29)

    "And he said unto me: Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth," (1 Nephi 14:10)

    "And Jesus again showed himself unto them, for they were praying unto the Father in his name; and Jesus came and stood in the midst of them, and said unto them: What will ye that I shall give unto you?

    And they said unto him: Lord, we will that thou wouldst tell us the name whereby we shall call this church; for there are disputations among the people concerning this matter.

    And the Lord said unto them: Verily, verily, I say unto you, why is it that the people should murmur and dispute because of this thing?

    Have they not read the scriptures, which say ye must take upon you the name of Christ, which is my name? For by this name shall ye be called at the last day;

    And whoso taketh upon him my name, and endureth to the end, the same shall be saved at the last day.

    Therefore, whatsoever ye shall do, ye shall do it in my name; therefore ye shall call the church in my name; and ye shall call upon the Father in my name that he will bless the church for my sake.

    And how be it my church save it be called in my name? For if a church be called in Moses’ name then it be Moses’ church; or if it be called in the name of a man then it be the church of a man; but if it be called in my name then it is my church, if it so be that they are built upon my gospel.

    Verily I say unto you, that ye are built upon my gospel; therefore ye shall call whatsoever things ye do call, in my name; therefore if ye call upon the Father, for the church, if it be in my name the Father will hear you;

    And if it so be that the church is built upon my gospel then will the Father show forth his own works in it,” (3 Nephi 27:2-10)

     
  9. San Antonio, Texas Temple

     
  10. Why are you chaste?

     
     

  11. What is truth?

    Such a profound question, one that philosophers have been debating for millennia. While I don’t hope to answer it, I hope to bring some issues to light.

    There are some things I don’t regard as truth. Throughout history, there have been many mistakes made, many half-truths propagated, and slander regarded as accurate. Here are some issues that have been declared as true that I disregard:

    1. Experts for many decades believed Earth to be the center of the universe. They wrote down their beliefs as fact, fiercely defended them, and even murdered heretics who held opposing beliefs. They were wrong.

    2. Experts proved that the world was flat. There are still many today who hold fast to this belief (The Flat Earth Society), and use pseudo-science and facts to prove their beliefs. I know they are wrong.

    3. Experts in the 19th century believed in a substance called aether that filled the void of space. This element explained how light could travel throughout the universe. But this also proved to be wrong.

    4. Historians claimed that Attila the Hun had horns and was the spawn of Satan. I don’t fail to accept this theory as well.

    If you don’t believe me when I say that “fact,” and “truth” change over time, or based upon what country is publishing the history books, try reading a textbook from 30 years ago. Or a history book from North Korea. You’ll see that things change, and that often the experts are wrong.

    I am not attacking science however. It is how we attempt to explain our existence. But as such, it should be recognized that it is the truth as we currently know it, and when new knowledge is discovered that disproves what we used to believe, we need to adapt.

    A brilliant case-study into truth and information would be politics. Its sad that such a field would require fact-checkers, and that even fact-checkers need fact-checkers. If I am to believe everything spouted about President Obama, then I would wonder how he keeps his alien tentacles hidden on camera.

    Which brings me to my main point: history is full of “facts,” and “truth,” that disprove our faith. People have been attacking Joseph Smith since he exited the Sacred Grove nearly 200 years ago. All of these statements that attack him and his validity as a prophet have to be taken with a grain of salt. If we believe everything said about him by his contemporaries, then we must also believe all the conspiracy theories about JFK’s assassination or the moon landing.

    Who can we believe then? I trust his associates and his wife, who would arguably be biased. But you must realize that many of these witnesses (Martin Harris, Emma Smith, and others) left the church, but could never deny their testimony in the truth of The Book of Mormon.

    But we cannot appeal to our logic and reason if we are to prove eternal truths. Ask God, the source of light and knowledge, and He will manifest it unto you. This is my testimony. The Book of Mormon is true, Joseph Smith is a prophet, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the kingdom of God upon the earth.

     

  12. "When you choose whether to make or keep a covenant with God, you choose whether to leave an inheritance of hope for those who will follow your example"
    — President Henry B. Eyring
     
  13. San Antonio, Texas Temple

     

  14. "And it came to pass that so great was their faith and their patience that the voice of the Lord came unto them again, saying: Be of good comfort, for on the morrow I will deliver you out of bondage."
    — Mosiah 24:16
     

  15. Why Are There So Many Churches?

    We all ask soul searching questions in our quest for truth. These questions of the soul can be answered with a study of The Book of Mormon. When asking “Why are there so many churches?” reference these scriptures:

    "And the Gentiles are lifted up in the pride of their eyes, and have stumbled, because of the greatness of their stumbling block, that they have built up many churches; nevertheless, they put down the power and miracles of God, and preach up unto themselves their own wisdom and their own learning, that they may get gain and grind upon the face of the poor. And there are many churches built up which cause envyings, and strifes, and malice," (2 Nephi 26:20-21)

    "And they began to be divided into classes; and they began to build up churches unto themselves to get gain, and began to deny the true church of Christ.

    And it came to pass that when two hundred and ten years had passed away there were many churches in the land; yea, there were many churches which professed to know the Christ, and yet they did deny the more parts of his gospel, insomuch that they did receive all manner of wickedness, and did administer that which was sacred unto him to whom it had been forbidden because of unworthiness.

    And this church did multiply exceedingly because of iniquity, and because of the power of Satan who did get hold upon their hearts.

    And again, there was another church which denied the Christ; and they did persecute the true church of Christ, because of their humility and their belief in Christ; and they did despise them because of the many miracles which were wrought among them,” (4 Nephi 1:26-29)

    2 Nephi 28