Friday, August 29, 2008

Book Review: Farworld Water Keep

Farworld Water Keep
by J. Scott Savage

From the back cover:

Other people may see thirteen-year-old Marcus Karnenas as an outcast and a nobody, but he sees himself as a survivor and a dreamer. In fact, his favorite dream is of a world faraway, a world where magic is as common as air, where animals tell jokes and trees beg people to pick their fruit. He even has a name for this place—Farworld.

When Marcus magically travels to Farworld, he meets Kyja, a girl without magic in a world where spells, charms, and potions are everywhere, and Master Therapass, a master wizard who has kept a secret hidden for thirteen years, a secret that could change the fate of two worlds.

But the Dark Circle has learned of Master Therapass’s secret and their evil influence and power are growing. Farworld’s only hope is for Marcus and Kyja to find the mythical Elementals—water, land, air, and fire—and convince them to open a drift between the worlds.

As Kyja and Marcus travel to Water Keep, they must face the worst evil Dark Circle can throw at them—Summoners, who can command the living and the dead; Unmakers, invisible creatures that can destroy both body and soul; and dark mages known as Thrathkin S’Bae.

Along the way, Marcus and Kyja will discover the truth about their own heritage, the strength of their friendship, and the depths of their unique powers.

Marcus and Kyja both suffer from what their individual worlds would consider disabilities. Marcus has physical limitations while Kyja believes she has no magic.
They both feel out of place in their respective worlds, and like most teenagers, they desperately want to fit in. But they don’t. It’s because they don’t fit in that they can become such highly identifiable characters and the story is so powerful. I love that Savage showed two visibly flawed characters overcome their obstacles, find inner strength and courage, and work to save Farworld.

Savage creates an interesting and detailed world complete with scary, creepy characters. The Unmakers are just plain creepy.

Readers will definitely enjoy the trip through this fantastical world with the underlying message that we all have magic inside us.

Farworld Water Keep will be available in stores in September.

Learn more about the author, J. Scott Savage, and his other books.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Bible and the Book of Mormon

The 8th Article of Faith states, “We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.”

Many people erroneously believe that we, as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, do not believe in the Bible. We do believe in the Bible. We read from it, teach from it, and use it to guide our lives.

In fact, our high school-aged youth are encouraged to enroll in Seminary. Though in some areas Seminary is offered at various times throughout the school day, in many areas it is offered only in the early morning, before school begins. Youth study the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and Church History in Seminary. Our youth spend two years studying the Bible. In fact, my daughters are studying the New Testament this year.

As a Seminary graduate, I also studied the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and Church History. As an adult, I have continued my study and have come to love the New Testament and learning about the mortal ministry of the Savior.

In addition to Seminary, children, youth, and adults study the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and Church History in Sunday School every Sunday. We take turns each year studying one of the standard works so every four years we study the Old Testament, the New Testament, the Book of Mormon, and Church History. We spend an entire year on each set of scriptures, trying to learn the gospel. Young children in Primary are also taught from the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and the Doctrine and Covenants (part of Church History).

Members are encouraged to study the scriptures in-depth both personally and with their families. I have learned so much about the gospel through my study of the scriptures. I’ve found answers to questions and even learned how to be a better parent.

The Book of Mormon does not replace the Bible. We believe the Book of Mormon to be another testament of Jesus Christ meant to support and better understand the teachings of the Bible. The Book of Mormon does not contradict the teachings of the Bible. It may help clarify some passages of scripture that may be confusing without the additional teachings of the Book of Mormon, but it does not replace the Bible.

The Lord has said, “ . . . In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.” (2 Corinthians 13:1). We believe that the Book of Mormon serves as another witness of the words of the Bible and fulfills this scripture.

The Book of Mormon is a record of the people in America and their struggles to live the gospel, the same gospel taught by the Savior. The Book of Mormon does not add to, nor take way from, the gospel of Jesus Christ. It does not teach a different gospel nor does it teach about a different Savior. The Book of Mormon is the word of God and a man will become closer to God by living what is taught within the pages of the Book of Mormon.

I have my own witness that the Book of Mormon is literally from God and I am thankful every single day that I have it in my life to help me become closer to my Heavenly Father and to my Savior, Jesus Christ.

Return to the neighborhood.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Valerie Ipson you have won a bottle of Hope (Heaven's Scent). Please send your snail mail address to me at It smells really good--hope you enjoy it!

Thanks to everyone for participating in the contest :).

Monday, August 25, 2008

Gifts from God

“We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, and so forth.” (7th Article of Faith)

Those called to serve missions experience the gift of tongues as well as the interpretation of tongues. Missionaries spend only a few months in the MTC learning a foreign language before they are sent out to use their newly learned skills. Generally, language study takes years and yet, these missionaries learn languages in a relatively short time and are communicating in a foreign country. The Lord blesses those who seek to obtain the gift and interpretation of tongues and helps them to teach the gospel in an unfamiliar language.

Prophecy and revelation are closely connected. We believe that we have a living prophet who receives revelation and then prophesies to the world the will of the Lord. The Prophet, Thomas S. Monson, also serves as the President of The LDS Church and can receive revelation for the world. A Stake President is entitled to receive revelation and prophesy for those who live within the stake boundaries. A Bishop can receive revelation for those living in the ward boundaries. Husbands and fathers receive revelation for their families. We are all entitled to receive revelation for ourselves.

My son, who recently returned from his mission to Rome, Italy, said that one of the things he learned on his mission was how important it is for each one of us to receive personal revelation through the power of the Holy Ghost. He related experiences when he received his own witness, or revelation, that an aspect of the gospel was true. His testimony is not dependent on mine or on his father’s. He owns it. It’s his because he’s prayed, asked for a witness, and received it. He relied on personal revelation throughout his mission to know how and what to teach. We each need to communicate with God and receive our own revelations in our lives. We believe that God is our Heavenly Father. He is the father of our spirits. He loves each one of us and wants us to make the right choices. He wants us to communicate with him through prayer so that He can reveal His will to us.

The scriptures record many instances of visions. In the Book of Mormon, Lehi sees in vision the destruction of Jerusalem. It is only because he acts on his vision and takes his family into the wilderness that they are protected from the destruction. We believe that men still see visions today.

We also believe in healing. When my youngest son was first born, he failed his hearing test. We were advised to give him a more in-depth hearing test. The audiologist was sure that my son would never hear consonants and was basically deaf.
My husband gave him a blessing and blessed him that he would hear. I can say without hesitation that my son hears and that he hears consonants because he says words with consonants. Heavenly Father blessed my son and healed him. If it is Heavenly Father’s will, people can be healed from any malady.

Heavenly Father has blessed us with so many gifts, these are but a few of them.

Return to the neighborhood.

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Same Organization

The 6th Article of Faith reads, “We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth.”

In our family, we recite an Article of Faith each night after we read scriptures. It helps the kids to remember our basic beliefs and helps them to explain to their friends exactly what we believe. I have a daughter named Angela so when my older kids were younger they would mistakenly say, “ . . . namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers and evangelas.” I would try to correct them, but they’d get mixed up and, somehow, say evangelas instead of evangelists. Since then, every time I see this Article of Faith, I think about how my kids used to say it.
This Article of Faith explains our belief in establishing the same church as was instituted by the Savior himself. While Jesus walked the earth, he set up his church. The LDS Church seeks to follow the same pattern as set forth by the Savior. We believe that we have the same organization as the Lord’s church during biblical times.

Just as the Savior chose and set apart his apostles, we do the same today. Apostles are called and serve the rest of their lives as apostles of the Lord, Jesus Christ. When an apostle passes away, another is called to serve. The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles is headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah.

While the Lord stands as the head of the Church, we have a prophet who acts as the mouthpiece of the Lord and receives revelations. Our prophet leads and guides us in these latter-days. We believe that just as the Lord revealed his will during the times of Noah, Moses, and Abraham, he continues to speak to his children through the prophet. Ongoing revelation is crucial for us so that we can follow the will of the Lord.

We believe that after the crucifixion of the Savior, that the gospel was taken from the earth. Many refer to this time as the “dark ages.” During the great apostasy, the priesthood was not on the earth. The gospel had to be restored, along with the power to act in the name of God. The Lord chose a young, unlearned man named Joseph Smith to restore the gospel and make it possible for us to enjoy the blessings of the gospel.

The restoration of all things meant that the Church must be established as it was 2000 years ago. The basis of organization for the LDS Church can be found in the bible. When Moses was leading the children of Israel he was chastised by his father-in-law, Jethro, for trying to solve all the problems by himself. Moses learned to delegate his responsibilities and allow other men to learn leadership skills. We do the same today. President Monson does not solve the problems of all of the people in the Church. He delegates that to others such as Stake Presidents or Bishops. In this way, we follow the pattern instituted by God and set forth in the Bible.

We believe that in order for it to be the Lord’s church, it must follow the same organization as he established.

Return to the neighborhood.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Review: Season of Sacrifice

Season of Sacrifice By Tristi Pinkston

From the back cover:

Sarah Williams is a young Welsh immigrant, coming to Utah to join her sister Mary Ann Perkins. When the Perkins are asked to join the San Juan mission to pioneer a trail through Southern Utah, they take Sarah along to help care for the children.

But a six-week journey turns into six agonizing months of hard work and toil as the Saints blast their way through a cliff to bring their wagons down what would become the famous Utah landmark, “Hole in the Rock.”
Finally settled in the San Juan, Sarah’s true hardship begins when Ben Perkins asks her to be his second wife. With their faith and testimonies challenged to the core, both Sarah and Mary Ann struggle to find the true meaning of Christ-like love and obedience. Will they make it through?

I enjoyed this book. Pinkston does an excellent job of portraying the struggle to travel to the San Juan. I have a greater appreciation for the Saints who were called to build this trail and the suffering they endured. My testimony was strengthened as I read about these real men and women who experienced great trials but never gave up. What tremendous faith these people had and Pinkston made me feel like I was right there experiencing it with them.

I was tempted to close the book after they made it to the San Juan because I’d grown to love the people and didn’t want to read about them having to endure the even greater trial of polygamy. I think Pinkston handled the polygamy aspect with great care and tenderness. I could really feel for Sarah and Mary Ann and how difficult it must’ve been to face the hardship of sharing a husband. I liked how Pinkston showed Ben’s feelings as well and his struggle to obey a commandment while being concerned about the feelings of Mary Ann. He didn’t make the decision lightly.

My favorite passage was when Sarah realized that though she didn’t have a testimony of polygamy, she did have a testimony of God and keeping his commandments. That’s still true today. We may not always understand a commandment, but if we are obedient, we will be blessed. We must learn to live by faith. I think this is the main message of this book.

I recommend Season of Sacrifice to anyone who wants to learn more about the expedition through the “Hole in the Rock” and who wants to understand more about those who practiced polygamy.

You can purchase your own copy here.

Visit Tristi's website to learn more about her and her other books.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Don't forget about my contest. The prize is a bottle of perfume that I designed to go with, Heaven Scent.

If you tell five people about my book, you can enter the contest. The perfume smells really good and who wouldn't want free perfume?

Leave a comment and you'll be eligible to win Hope (Heaven's Scent).

Tell your friends--it'll be fun!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Proper Authority

“We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof” (5th Article of Faith).

We believe, as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, that men must have the proper authority from God to perform the ordinances of the gospel. We believe that when Joseph Smith restored the gospel, he also restored the ability for men to act in the name of God, also known as the priesthood.

In his own history Joseph Smith writes,“We still continued the work of translation, when, in the ensuing month (May, 1829), we on a certain day went into the woods to pray and inquire of the Lord respecting baptism for the remission of sins, that we found mentioned in the translation of the plates. While we were thus employed, praying and calling upon the Lord, a messenger from heaven descended in a cloud of light, and having laid his hands upon us, he ordained us, saying:

Upon you my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah, I confer the Priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins. …

“He said this Aaronic Priesthood had not the power of laying on hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, but that this should be conferred on us hereafter; and he commanded us … that I should baptize Oliver Cowdery, and that afterwards he should baptize me.

“Accordingly we went and were baptized. I baptized him first, and afterwards he baptized me—after which I laid my hands upon his head and ordained him to the Aaronic Priesthood, and afterwards he laid his hands on me and ordained me to the same Priesthood—for so we were commanded.

“The messenger who visited us on this occasion and conferred this Priesthood upon us, said that his name was John, the same that is called John the Baptist in the New Testament, and that he acted under the direction of Peter, James and John, who held the keys of the Priesthood of Melchizedek, which Priesthood, he said, would in due time be conferred on us”(JS—H 1:68–72).

Shortly after, Peter, James, and John conferred the Melchizedek Priesthood on Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery. We now have the fullness of the priesthood upon the earth and this allows men who have received this priesthood to conduct the affairs of the Church in the name of God.

I attended a Catholic Mass a few weeks ago. When it came time to administer the sacrament, what we as Latter-day Saints believe to be a priesthood ordinance, it was administered by women. It seemed strange to me to see women participating in the sacrament.

The gospel, as taught by the Savior himself, was lost for a time. After the Savior’s crucifixion, his apostles were murdered and the priesthood was taken from the earth. Since the true gospel of Jesus Christ was removed from the earth, it was necessary that it be restored, along with the ability to perform ordinances in the name of God.

When my husband served his mission in Chile, investigators told him that they did not need to be baptized because they had already been baptized in another church. While other churches baptize their members and perform ordinances, we believe that they do not have the authority to do such ordinances and that those ordinances performed without authority will not be recognized by God.

All ordinances must be performed with the proper authority and we believe that we have that authority.

Return to the neighborhood.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Enter My Contest: Win Perfume

Don't forget my CONTEST. I'm giving away the perfume I designed to go along with Heaven Scent. It smells really good. It's a soft floral mix and everyone who has it, loves it.

Enter the contest. Here are the rules. It's easy to enter.

He's Home

I’ve been somewhat absent from the blog world for the past week or so as I’ve been preparing for my son to return home from his mission. We’ve been cleaning and getting the boys’ room ready, which is no small feat. How two boys can be so messy is beyond me. Any why I agreed to letting them have toads, and lizards, and a turtle in their room is even more beyond me.

Wednesday we were all working hard so we could leave for the airport to pick up my son. We’d been counting `down the days (I admit, I was counting down the hours) and were all so excited for his arrival. The phone rang. We figured it was probably my son. As soon as I heard his voice, I knew something was wrong. He explained that his plane in Rome had been delayed and by the time it arrived in New York, he’d missed his connecting flight. He couldn’t make it home Wednesday night. He could make it as far as Salt Lake, but no farther. And, since it was an air traffic control problem in Rome, the airline was not obligated to get him a hotel room. Fortunately, one of his buddies is living in Provo and he agreed to go get my son and bring him back the next morning. I was thankful for, and envious of, my son’s friend, though I felt like someone had socked me in the stomach. But, I looked on the bright side and knew I’d see him the next day.

Thursday morning (yesterday) I popped out of bed to get some chores done and then we drove into town in our big, enormous 15-passenger van. We ran a few errands, all the while talking about how excited were all were. Tears sprang spontaneously from my eyes each time I thought about seeing him again after two years.
We drove over to the airport a little early and found that his plane was expected earlier than we had anticipated. I was relieved I hadn’t listened to my kids and gone to Walmart on the way to the airport. If I had missed his arrival . . . well, I’m just glad we went straight to the airport.

I stared at the clock and we all counted down the minutes. It was like New Year’s Eve, but with a much better thing at the end of the countdown. My sister and 9 of her 10 kids came bounding through the lobby doors. They were armed with posters and balloons. My sisters-in-law, a brother-in-law, a nephew, another nephew’s wife and baby, and my mother-in-law and her husband all arrived. We were a large crown gathered in our tiny rural airport. Passersby stopped to see the posters and watch the excitement.

My heart was beating so fast and I felt like I couldn’t breathe as I waited for my son to walk through the doors. As soon as the doors opened, my heart felt like it was going to jump right out of my chest. After a few passengers, my son emerged with a smile plastered all over his face, and we all let out screams of delight. I rushed to him and threw my arms around his neck. Tears flowed freely as I pulled him close to me. It’s hard to describe the incredible joy at being reunited with him after two years. It was even better than the day he was born. He was safe, in my arms, once again, my strong, wonderful son who had just dedicated his life to serving the Lord for two years.

It was surreal as I watched him hugging other family members. I was so filled with joy at seeing him and, yet, almost couldn’t believe he was actually there. I felt like I needed to pinch myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. I was filled with so much gratitude to the Lord for watching over my son and protecting him and magnifying him. I was so thankful that my son had made the choice to serve and though his mission was difficult, he never gave up. He stayed and he worked and he prayed and he grew.

It is definitely a sacrifice for a young man to serve a mission, but the blessings outweigh the sacrifice by a hundredfold.

Return to the neighborhood.

Monday, August 11, 2008

54 Hours and Counting

My son will be home from his mission in approximately 54 hours. Wahoo! I am so excited to see him. I’ve tried to not think about it too much so I wouldn’t get too distracted. I can’t believe his two years are up and he’ll soon be a return missionary.

It seems as though it was only a moment ago the doctor first placed him in my arms. I remember looking into his eyes and imagining all sorts of things for him. His life was full of possibilities. One of the things I hoped for him was that he’d serve a mission.

Throughout his childhood we talked about his mission. I tried to teach him the gospel through reading scriptures, saying prayers, attending church, and having Family Home Evenings about the gospel and more specifically about sharing the gospel.
As a teenager, he attended seminary and I was so thankful as I watched his testimony grow and his love for the scriptures increase. He thoroughly enjoyed seminary and often talked about the day’s lesson at dinner that night.

One of the experiences that cemented his desire to serve a mission is when he attended an MTC camp in the mountains. During this camp, the young men have classes, scripture discussions, team-building games, and opportunities to hear guest speakers. At the end of the camp, each young man is encouraged to find a solitary place to pray and have his own “sacred grove” experience.

My son’s testimony also grew when he was involved in a pioneer trek in the mountains near our home. His testimony was strengthened as he realized what the pioneers sacrificed for the gospel.

I’m certainly no expert on how to get a young man to serve a mission, but I have a strong and fervent testimony that following the counsel of the prophets, reading the scriptures, praying every day, holding consistent home evenings, and supporting church activities will help boys have the desire to serve a mission. I believe that taking advantage of all opportunities including seminary, Scouting, and missionary-themed activities will give boys a push that they might not otherwise get. I think it’s so important for parents to support these programs and to encourage their kids to attend and participate in these activities.

I can’t believe my son’s mission will come to an end in just about two days. It felt as though I’d left a crucial body organ at the MTC when we were told, “Missionaries through this door, everyone else through the other door.” I thought two years would take forever and it’d be so hard. But, it’s flown by. Not because I haven’t missed him, but because he’s been so happy serving in Italy and I’ve been so thrilled that he’s been serving a mission. Missing him has been tempered with the knowledge that he’s working so hard to bring the gospel message to the good people of Italy. Heavenly Father has blessed me with a calm, peaceful feeling these two years while my son has been halfway across the world.

I am so thankful my son has been serving. Believe me, I will hug him with all my might as soon as he’s off that plane and I will be so happy to see him, but I will always be so grateful for his choice to serve a mission and I know that Heavenly Father will bless him because of his efforts.

Return to the neighborhood.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Contest: Win Perfume

I'm sponsoring a contest. The winner will receive a bottle of Hope perfume (the fragrance of Heaven Scent). You can read more about Hope here.

The rules:

1. Tell five people about my book. They must be people who haven't previously heard about Heaven Scent. You can talk to them, email them, write a letter to them, and/or post about my book on the internet (you can even sing about my book if you're so inclined). The idea is to make as many people aware of Heaven Scent as possible.

2. Leave a comment on this post and tell me about how you told people about my book.

3. I'll run the contest for two weeks. On August 22, 2008 I will put the names of all commenters in a hat and one of my kids will pick the winner (I'm sure I could do this more high-tech, but my son will be home from his mission in 5 days and I'm a little too distracted to figure out how to do the thingie other people use that picks a winner).

4. This will be on the honor system. I'll trust you that when you leave a comment you have, in fact, told at least five people about my book. You can enter a comment for every five people you tell for a better chance at winning the perfume.

Hope is the name of the perfume worn by Liza’s mother in Heaven Scent. It’s a soft floral blend of jasmine, freesia and mimosa. This fragrance is pivotal in convincing Liza that despite her new reality, her mother is never far from her. Hope reminds us that families are forever and we are constantly encircled by their love.

Good luck and thank you for helping me spread the word about Heaven Scent.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Gift of the Holy Ghost

The last part of the 4th Article of Faith states our belief in the “laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.”

We believe that men who hold the restored priesthood of God can bestow the gift of the Holy Ghost to baptized members of the LDS Church. The gift of the Holy Ghost is different from the Holy Ghost as a personage of Spirit. The Holy Ghost himself is part of the Godhead and is a distinct personage, but many at the same time can feel his influence. It is similar to the sun. While the sun itself stays in the sky, people in California can feel sunshine at the same time as people in New York.

The gift of the Holy Ghost means the right to his constant companionship or influence. We believe that as we strive to live the gospel by keeping the commandments, we will have the guidance that comes from the Holy Ghost. We believe that those who have not yet been baptized are not entitled to the constant companionship, but recognize that anyone can feel a prompting from the Holy Ghost from time to time.

It is the mission of the Holy Ghost to witness all truth. Whenever anything is true, the Holy Ghost can witness that to those who are sincere in their efforts to find the truth. The Bible contains records of people who experienced a witness by the Holy Ghost before they were baptized into the Church. The same is true today. When missionaries teach true principles of the gospel, those who are earnestly seeking the truth and are listening with sincere hearts will have a witness, they will know that the message they are hearing is true.

The Holy Ghost can also warn us of physical or spiritual danger. If we listen to the still, small voice we will be protected.

When I was a teenager, I was driving to a friend’s house. I had some passengers in my backseat. It was raining and the night was very dark. As I rounded a corner along an unlit road, I asked my passengers if they saw anything in the road ahead. They answered they did not. Suddenly, I felt the urge to swerve into the oncoming lane. I resisted because I could not see clearly enough to determine that the other lane was free of vehicles. Again, I was urged to swerve into the oncoming lane. I again asked my passengers if they saw anything in the road. A third time I was urged to swerve and decided to listen. Just as I entered the oncoming lane, I could see that a large, dark-colored van was stalled in my lane. Because of the angle of the van, the reflectors were not visible. I barely missed hitting that van. Unfortunately, a vehicle behind me did not have the same warning as I did, and slammed into the van. By the time I reached my friend’s house, I could hear the sirens. I realized that I had been warned by the Holy Ghost to swerve out of the way. I’m certain that had I ignored the prompting one more time, I would have killed all of us in my car.

Now, as I look around the dinner table at all of my children, I realize my purpose was to live that night so that I could provide mortal tabernacles for 10 of Heavenly Father’s spirit children. The Holy Ghost saved my life that night and has since prompted me in various situations. I am so thankful for the gift of the Holy Ghost and for the times he has intervened in my behalf. It truly is a gift to have the influence of the Holy Ghost.

Return to the neighborhood.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Our Vacation

We just returned from a week-long vacation to Santa Barbara, California, where I was born and raised. We had such a great time. My youngest, as you can see from the photo, loved the sand. He even loved eating the sand. His favorite activity was to take a handful of sand and throw it at me and then laugh. He loved splashing in the waves and sticking his hands in the wet sand.

He loved it when we buried him in the sand, especially when he peeked his little toes out of the sand. He even helped bury himself.

Love that wet sand that sticks together and makes the perfect sand ball to throw at an unsuspecting brother!

We all tried to body surf. Some of us were more successful than others :).

It was such a wonderful vacation and so much fun to spend time with my family. We had a great time.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Baptism: A Fundamental Ordinance

A fundamental gospel ordinance is baptism. We believe that those who perform the baptism must have the authority to do so. Many people, when investigating the church, say they have already been baptized and don’t need another baptism. We believe that in order for a baptism to be recognized by God, it must be done under his direction using the priesthood.

In the LDS Church we do not practice infant baptism. Children are baptized when they are eight years old because that’s when they are accountable to the Lord for their actions. (Doctrine and Covenants 68:27).

We believe in baptism by immersion as demonstrated by the Savior himself when he was baptized by John the Baptist. Baptism by immersion is symbolic. It is as if laying down your old life into the grave, and then coming up into a new life, a new birth.

Baptism is so important that the Savior, though he was perfect and did not need baptism, was baptized. “Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him; And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:13-17). Heavenly Father was pleased that his son, the Savior of the world, was baptized. Isn’t he then pleased when each of us is baptized?

The Savior set the example because this ordinance is integral to our eternal salvation. We must be baptized. This is why we perform baptisms for the dead. In Corinthians 15:29 it reads, “Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? Why are they then baptized for the dead?” Since many people have died before having the opportunity to hear the gospel or be baptized with the proper authority, members of the LDS Church do baptisms vicariously for those who have gone to the other side of the veil. We want all of Heavenly Father’s children to have the blessings of the gospel, even if they have already died.

When a baptism is performed, it is done in an orderly fashion with the same words offered for each baptism. It’s also mandatory that two priesthood holders witness the baptism to make sure that the person, or proxy for someone who has died, is completely immersed.

Baptism is the start of a new life as all the old sins are washed away. I’ve often wished that I could be baptized everyday just to feel that clean, pure feeling and have a fresh start. We are very blessed to now have the authority to perform baptisms and I’m certain that Heavenly Father is pleased each time one of his sons or daughters is baptized.

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Return to the neighborhood.

Friday, August 1, 2008


The second principle of the gospel, according to the 4th Article of Faith, is repentance.

Why is repentance so important?

We all make mistakes and commit sins. If we do not repent of these, we will not be able to return to live with our Heavenly Father because no unclean thing can enter into the kingdom of God. We must all repent, each and every day. Spencer W. Kimball said, “There is never a day in any man’s life when repentance is not essential to his well-being and eternal progress.”

We may think that unless we commit a serious sin, we do not need repentance. Not true. Most of us will never murder someone, rob a bank, or perjure ourselves in court. Yet, as President Kimball said, we all need to repent.


Because any sin, small or large, will keep us out of the celestial kingdom.

Obviously, we need to repent when we break the Word of Wisdom, the Law of Chastity, or a temple covenant. But, we also need to repent when we gossip, are impatient with our kids, say something unkind to our spouse, disrespect a parent, fail to fulfill a calling, tell a white lie, keep the extra change from the grocery store, rebel against counsel from a priesthood leader or forget to pray. Each one of us needs the power of the atonement in our lives, even if our sins seem to be small and insignificant.

True repentance follows certain steps. The first step is to recognize that we’ve done something wrong. When I was a kid we didn’t keep the Sabbath Day holy. We went to the beach, swam, shopped, and watched TV. It wasn’t until I got married that I recognized that what I was doing on Sunday was wrong and I needed to repent.
The next step is to feel sorry about what we’ve done. It isn’t enough to just give the mistake a simple nod, but to feel Godly sorrow, to feel so bad that we won’t repeat it again. We should truly regret what we’ve done or said.

Next, we need to confess what we’ve done. Some sins require that we visit with our bishop. For those mistakes or things we do that don’t require a bishop’s interview, we still need to confess to the person we’ve wronged and then confess it to Heavenly Father. Of course, Heavenly Father already knows what we’ve done, but we must still confess it to him

After we’ve confessed the wrong, we must attempt to restore that which we’ve taken or destroyed. If we’ve taken a candy bar from the grocery store we can pay for it. If we’ve said something unkind to someone we can apologize. Some things, though, aren’t so easily replaced. Just as we cannot gather all the feathers blown about by a gust of wind, we can’t recall the words we’ve said when we’ve passed a rumor. It’s impossible to restore virtue and, sometimes, almost as difficult to regain trust, but we must do all in our power to right the wrong.

The last step is to forsake the sin and never do it again. This can be a difficult step, especially if what we’ve been doing is a habit. With the Lord’s help, though, nothing is impossible and he can give us the strength to overcome our weaknesses.

As we seek to repent, we will become closer to our Heavenly Father and we will be motivated to make our lives right before him. This is why repentance is such a fundamental part of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

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