1. "But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself…"
    — Leviticus 19:34
     

  2. Why Do I Need to be Baptized?

    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 do I need to be baptized?” reference these scriptures:

    "And he commandeth all men that they must repent, and be baptized in his name, having perfect faith in the Holy One of Israel, or they cannot be saved in the kingdom of God," (2 Nephi 9:23)

    And now, if the Lamb of God, he being holy, should have need to be baptized by water, to fulfil all righteousness, O then, how much more need have we, being unholy, to be baptized, yea, even by water!” (2 Nephi 31:5)

    "Now I say unto you that ye must repent, and be born again; for the Spirit saith if ye are not born again ye cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven; therefore come and be baptized unto repentance, that ye may be washed from your sins, that ye may have faith on the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world, who is mighty to save and to cleanse from all unrighteousness.

    Yea, I say unto you come and fear not, and lay aside every sin, which easily doth beset you, which doth bind you down to destruction, yea, come and go forth, and show unto your God that ye are willing to repent of your sins and enter into a covenant with him to keep his commandments, and witness it unto him this day by going into the waters of baptism.

    And whosoever doeth this, and keepeth the commandments of God from thenceforth, the same will remember that I say unto him, yea, he will remember that I have said unto him, he shall have eternal life, according to the testimony of the Holy Spirit, which testifieth in me,” (Alma 7:14-16)

    "Now this is the commandment: Repent, all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me and be baptized in my name, that ye may be sanctified by the reception of the Holy Ghost, that ye may stand spotless before me at the last day," (3 Npehi 27:20)

     

  3. "Our Father in Heaven is generous with His power. All men and women have access to this power for our help in our own lives. All who have made sacred covenants with the Lord, and who honor those covenants, are eligible to receive personal revelation, to be blessed by the ministering of angels, and to commune with God."
    — Sister Carole M. Stephens
     
  4. "Christo in Bronze," by J. Kirk Richards

     
  5. I know He lives. What joy this sentence gives.

     
     

  6. Easter Sunday

    "This is Easter morning. This is the Lord’s day, when we celebrate the greatest victory of all time, the victory over death.

    There is nothing more universal than death, and nothing brighter with hope and faith than the assurance of immortality. The abject sorrow that comes with death, the bereavement that follows the passing of a loved one are mitigated only by the certainty of the Resurrection of the Son of God that first Easter morning.

    What meaning would life have without the reality of immortality? Otherwise life would become only a dismal journey of “getting and spending,” only to end in utter and hopeless oblivion.

    The pain of death is swallowed up in the peace of eternal life. Of all the events of the chronicles of humanity, none is of such consequence as this,” (President Hinckley, “This Glorious Easter Morn”)

    "Even with the logic of nature’s regeneration and even with the testimony of that empty garden tomb, there are still those who feel the grave is a final destination. But the doctrine of the Resurrection is the single most fundamental and crucial doctrine in the Christian religion. It cannot be overemphasized, nor can it be disregarded.

    Without the Resurrection, the gospel of Jesus Christ becomes a litany of wise sayings and seemingly unexplainable miracles—but sayings and miracles with no ultimate triumph. No, the ultimate triumph is in the ultimate miracle: for the first time in the history of mankind, one who was dead raised himself into living immortality. He was the Son of God, the Son of our immortal Father in Heaven, and his triumph over physical and spiritual death is the good news every Christian tongue should speak.

    The eternal truth is that Jesus Christ arose from the grave and was the firstfruits of the Resurrection. The witnesses of this wonderful occurrence cannot be impeached,” (President Hunter, “An Apostle’s Witness of the Resurrection”)

    Easter is that sacred season when the heart of each devout Christian turns in humble gratitude to our beloved Savior. It is a season that should bring peace and joy to all who love Him and show it by obeying His commandments. Easter brings thoughts of Jesus, His life, His Atonement, His Resurrection, His love. He has risen from the dead “with healing in his wings” (Malachi 4:23 Nephi 25:2). Oh, how we all need that healing the Redeemer can provide. Mine is a message of hope based on principles embodied in the teachings of the Master Teacher, Jesus Christ,” (Elder Scott, “He Lives! All Glory To His Name!”)

    "To understand the meaning of death, we must appreciate the purpose of life. The dim light of belief must yield to the noonday sun of revelation, by which we know that we lived before our birth into mortality. In our premortal state, we were doubtless among the sons and daughters of God who shouted for joy because of the opportunity to come to this challenging yet necessary mortal existence. We knew that our purpose was to gain a physical body, to overcome trials, and to prove that we would keep the commandments of God. Our Father knew that because of the nature of mortality, we would be tempted, would sin, and would fall short. So that we might have every chance of success, He provided a Savior, who would suffer and die for us. Not only would He atone for our sins, but as a part of that Atonement, He would also overcome the physical death to which we would be subject because of the Fall of Adam.

    Thus, more than 2,000 years ago, Christ, our Savior, was born to mortal life in a stable in Bethlehem. The long-foretold Messiah had come,” (President Monson, “He is Risen!”)

    "And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives!" (D&C 76:22)

     

  7. "You don’t have to be perfect; I don’t claim that you are. What I mean to say is that whether you are single or married, whether you have born children or not, whether you are old, young, or in between, your morality is vital, and that perhaps we have begun to take it and you for granted"
    — Elder Christofferson
     
  8. "Nativity in Copper and Umber" by J. Kirk Richards

     

  9. "And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might"
    — Deuteronomy 6:5
     

  10. Anonymous asked: I really struggle with reading the scriptures. I try to do it often, but it's hard for me to comprehend what I'm reading, and I usually don't really retain what I've read. How can I make my scripture study more meaningful and beneficial? Will God be disappointed in me for not knowing the stories in the scriptures very well?

    Ok first off, God will never be disappointed if you do your best. We all know those members in Sunday School who seem to have every last nuance of the Old Testament stories crammed in their cranium. Will God hold these people to a higher standard than the rest of us? No. The stories of the scriptures are important for our benefit, when we read them, but it is not necessary to our salvation.

    I feel one of the problems in our church is when we read scripture, we read it like a novel instead of a text book.

    Here are a few suggestions to read the scriptures like Herminone Granger, who is a great example of studying and treasuring bookly knowledge:

    1. Pray, A LOT!
    Start your study with earnest prayer, asking for help and inspiration. And when you’re reading and find some gem of wisdom, pray again. Show gratitude and ask if there is more to be learned.

    2. Make it an assignment
    When you sit down, make a list of things you want to learn from this session. Ask yourself questions like “Who is speaking? What are they saying? Why is this important? How do I apply it?” And then write it out, as if you were to turn it in to your teacher.

    3. Write your thoughts
    Keeping a journal of scriptural insights increases our retention dramatically. Imagine where we would be if Nephi decided not to write his spiritual experiences. Or if Alma didn’t think it was cool to write down his sermons. Expressing ourselves in writing builds our testimonies.

    4. Highlight
    I’m not asking you to go overboard, over highlighting and underlining can be distracting, but here are some examples I’ve actually done in my studies: Highlight the words of Christ in one color, teachings about his ministry in another color, and circle each reference to Him or His titles. Another time I’ve highlighted all the scriptures in the BofM pertinent to the lessons in Preach My Gospel, color-coordinated to each of the 5 lessons. Presently I’m studying the Atonement and highlighting the different missions of our Savior.

    5.Study by subject
    Perhaps you need inspiration on how to develop charity. Or maybe you’re curious about repentance. We have great study helps (the Topical Guide, Index, and Bible Dictionary) that have been cross-referenced and what not. Make use of them and you can learn a lot as you study subject by subject.

    6. Try bite-sized portions
    Too often we break up our studies in to time periods (10 minutes a day) or linear breaks (5 pages), and our end becomes the goal, instead of the journey. Try to study in smaller portions, and then dissect what you’re reading. Reread verses over and over until you understand them. Look for meaning before you plug on.

    7. Study with a goal
    Instead of just sitting down and reading, make a goal for your studies. Perhaps you have a struggle or trial you need help overcoming. Or you need inspiration for your decision making. What ever you decide, make a goal before you study, and often the answers will come as you study.

    I hope any one of these suggestions helps. Also, I’m thinking of expanding on these thoughts and writing a short book about study habits. If any of you have similar concerns, or ideas for this book, let me know.

     

  11. What Do I Need to Feel to be Baptized?

    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 “What do I need to feel to be baptized?” reference these scriptures:

    "And it came to pass that he said unto them: Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus were they called) and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light;

    Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life—

    Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you?

    And now when the people had heard these words, they clapped their hands for joy, and exclaimed: This is the desire of our hearts, (Mosiah 18:8-11)

    "They were desirous to be baptized as a witness and a testimony that they were willing to serve God with all their hearts; nevertheless they did prolong the time; and an account of their baptism shall be given hereafter," (Mosiah 21:35)

     
  12. "Mother and Child (Robin Egg)" by J. Kirk Richards

     
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  14. "As surely as we know that God’s love is ‘alike’ for His sons and His daughters, we also know that He did not create men and women exactly the same…Sacred responsibilities are given to each gender"
    — Elder Andersen
     

  15. Legacy

    In church a while ago I heard this story about a business man who was on vacation in the Caribbean. He was eager to share his knowledge on business efficiency and how to make an enterprise. It truly explains what matters most in life:

    A vacationing American businessman standing on the pier of a quaint coastal fishing village in southern Mexico watched as a small boat with just one young Mexican fisherman pulled into the dock. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. Enjoying the warmth of the early afternoon sun, the American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish.

    "How long did it take you to catch them?" the American casually asked.

    "Oh, a few hours," the Mexican fisherman replied.

    "Why don’t you stay out longer and catch more fish?" the American businessman then asked.

    The Mexican warmly replied, “With this I have more than enough to meet my family’s needs.”

    The businessman then became serious, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?”

    Responding with a smile, the Mexican fisherman answered, “I sleep late, play with my children, watch ball games, and take siesta with my wife. Sometimes in the evenings I take a stroll into the village to see my friends, play the guitar, sing a few songs…”

    The American businessman impatiently interrupted, “Look, I have an MBA from Harvard, and I can help you to be more profitable. You can start by fishing several hours longer every day. You can then sell the extra fish you catch. With the extra money, you can buy a bigger boat. With the additional income that larger boat will bring, before long you can buy a second boat, then a third one, and so on, until you have an entire fleet of fishing boats.”

    Proud of his own sharp thinking, he excitedly elaborated a grand scheme which could bring even bigger profits, “Then, instead of selling your catch to a middleman you’ll be able to sell your fish directly to the processor, or even open your own cannery. Eventually, you could control the product, processing and distribution. You could leave this tiny coastal village and move to Mexico City, or possibly even Los Angeles or New York City, where you could even further expand your enterprise.”

    Having never thought of such things, the Mexican fisherman asked, “But how long will all this take?”

    After a rapid mental calculation, the Harvard MBA pronounced, “Probably about 15-20 years, maybe less if you work really hard.”

    "And then what, señor?" asked the fisherman.

    "Why, that’s the best part!" answered the businessman with a laugh. "When the time is right, you would sell your company stock to the public and become very rich. You would make millions."

    "Millions? Really? What would I do with it all?" asked the young fisherman in disbelief.

    The businessman boasted, “Then you could happily retire with all the money you’ve made. You could move to a quaint coastal fishing village where you could sleep late, play with your grandchildren, watch ball games, and take siesta with your wife. You could stroll to the village in the evenings where you could play the guitar and sing with your friends all you want.”

    The American businessman couldn’t see that the pursuit of money isn’t the purpose of life. He thought that the fisher would want to improve his fishing business so that he could retire early. But really, the fisherman’s proposed retirement was exactly the life he was living now. Let us focus on what is important now, instead of putting it off for when we have time for it after our career.