## Saturday, May 28, 2011

### Equation for Truth!

Math is all about finding answers.  It's all about solving the equation and giving order to things.  Math helps us out tremendously in our lives (though it didn't help my High School GPA at all)!  In a way, it helps us find truth.

Now....... wait a second?!?  He just talked about truth!  What IS truth?!?!!!

Well, the poet John Jaques once penned:

"Oh say, what is truth? 'Tis the fairest gem
That the riches of worlds can produce,
And priceless the value of truth will be when
The proud monarch's costliest diadem
Is counted but dross and refuse.

Then say, what is truth? 'Tis the last and the first,
For the limits of time it steps o'er.
Though the heavens depart and the earth's fountains burst,
Truth, the sum of existence, will weather the worst,
Eternal, unchanged, evermore."

﻿So we know that truth is important, but HOW important is it?  Christ taught us in John 8:32 that "ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."  So if the truth is something that will make me free, my next question is:

How can I know truth?

Let's do some math!!!

Well, to answer that question let's turn to Moroni 10:5, which states that "by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things."  So it is the Holy Ghost that will teach us.

So....... how do we go about receiving an answer from the Holy Ghost?

In the next two verses, the prophet Moroni, though specifically talking about the Book of Mormon, teaches us the formula!

"3Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.
4And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost."

So the equation looks like this now:

Read+Ponder+Pray(Real Intent+Faith in Christ+Sincere Heart)=Holy Ghost

That's what we need to do!  Now comes this question..... how do we know that the Holy Ghost is teaching us truth?  How do we recognize truth once we've found it?

If it invites us to follow Christ, it's a definite sure sign of truth (see Moroni 7:13)!  If the fruits of the Spirit are present (see Galatians 5:22-23), then the Holy Ghost is sending revelation to us to let us know it is of God, and is truth.

Truth is also scientific, and you have to experiement with it.  Check out this video about Sergio on how he finds truth!

## Tuesday, May 24, 2011

### Inspiring thoughts on Music

"A painter paints pictures on canvas.  But musicians paint their pictures on silence."  ~Leopold Stokowski

"Music truly is the universal language, and when it is excellently expressed how deeply it moves our souls."  ~ President David O. McKay

"Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life."  ~Berthold Auerbach

"Music is what feelings sound like."  ~Author Unknown

"There is nothing in the world so much like prayer as music is."  ~William P. Merrill

"We get nearer to the Lord through music than perhaps through any other thing except prayer." ~President J. Reuben Clark Jr.

"Music cleanses the understanding; inspires it, and lifts it into a realm which it would not reach if it were left to itself."  ~Henry Ward Beecher

"Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands: sing forth the honour of his name: make his praise glorious."  ~Psalm 66:1-2

"Be filled with the Spirit; speaking to yourselves in psalsm and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."  ~Ephesians 5:18-20

"I am comforted by the assurance that there will be beautiful music in heaven, and for that I am most grateful."  ~President Spencer W. Kimball

All of Me by Jon Schmidt﻿
performed by Mario Arias

﻿"There is no music in hell, for all good music belongs to heaven."  ~President Brigham Young

## Saturday, May 21, 2011

### Chocolate Cake (and Strawberry Shortcake).... :)

So, last night the church was hosting a fund raiser for all the young women to help them get to girls camp this year.  It was GREAT!!!  It was a spaghetti dinner with a dessert auction at the end.  We came in a little late to show how much we cared and supported them, and this is what ended up happening...

.... and a chocolate cake, strawberry shortcake, and several brownies later, we made it out of there alive!!!

Golly, I'm not going to lie; I LOVE chocolate (and strawberries for that matter)!!!  It pretty much is one of the sure signs that there is a heaven, that there IS something INCREDIBLE out there beyond my understanding!!!  It's just so....... YES!!!

The way that I love and strongly desire chocolate (and strawberries) is very similar to something else that is very special to me.  It's the word of God.

As the psalmist once wrote:

"How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!"   (Psalms 119:103)

During his vision of the tree of life, the prophet Lehi gave an account of a special kind of fruit.  In his own words, he describes:

"And it came to pass that I did go forth and partake of the fruit thereof; and I beheld that it was most sweet, above all that I ever before tasted. Yea, and I beheld that the fruit thereof was white, to exceed all the whiteness that I had ever seen.  And as I partook of the fruit thereof it filled my soul with exceedingly great joy; wherefore, I began to be desirous that my family should partake of it also; for I knew that it was desirable above all other fruit. (1 Nephi 8:11-12)"

The fruits that God sends to us truly are more satisfying than anything else the world can offer us.  The prophet Nephi even goes on to say that we need to "...feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell [us] all things what [we] should do (2 Nephi 32:3)."  The 'fruits' which God sends us are not only sweeter than the chocolate cake or the strawberry shortcake we received, but it doesn't end.  As the great hymnalist once penned:

"The works of God continue,
And worlds and lives abound;
Improvement and progression
Have one eternal round."
-William W. Phelps

The words which God has given to us last forever.  I'm so grateful for the ways in which He inspires me to find more comfort, to find more joy, to experience so much more peace in this life.  I'm grateful that I'm able to share His message, because it is a message of hope and a message of truth!  The things I share have made an eternal impact on my life, and to allow others to partake of this fruit is more than I could ever ask to do.

## Wednesday, May 18, 2011

### Rain Delay?!?!!!!

One of the saddest moments in all of sports is when the weather interferes with the athletic competition.

Meetings between teams have to be postponed until a later day.  The excitement of the crowd is weakened.  The entire atmosphere of an epic duel between competitive rivals is destroyed.  There is a feeling of impatience among players, fans, umpires, coaches, journalists, and so forth.  What is one to do when such a crisis happens?

Well, let's look at how a couple of collegiate athletes took this negative and turned it into a, well...
JOUSTING MATCH!!!

﻿
﻿How do we react when lifes storms beat upon us?  Christ himself taught that God "maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust" (Matthew 5:45).  We don't get to choose whether we go through trials or not, but we do get to choose how we prepare ourselves for when they come and how we endure them.  The prophet Helaman gave his sons Nephi and Lehi the following counsel (Helaman 5:12):

"And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall."

There is power to the choices we make.  As we choose to follow Christ and make Him the center of our lives, we are promised that the storms of Hell won't prevail against us.  As we choose to be happy, choose to smile, choose to laugh, we conquer Satan's intent to bring us misery and sorrow.  In the words of a modern-day Apostle's mother, "Come what may and love it."  Listen to the words of Joseph B. Wirthlin about how we can endure these trials well.

"Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy" (2 Nephi 2:25).

Let us find joy, no matter what life throws at us.

## Monday, May 16, 2011

### Learning from a woman who falls into a fountain while texting!

So I guess lately there's been a youtube viral video that shows a comically tragic happenstance.  Here it is!

What helped contribute to this hilariously unfortunate event?  Well, she had her plate full.  She was multitasking, but lost sight of what was most important: Don't fall into the fountain!!!

Similarly, do we lose focus of what is most important and multitask ourselves into the fountain?  Do we worry about work, our kids baseball practice, our schoolwork, or cleaning the house and forget entirely to thank our Father in Heaven for His endless love?  Do we neglect or deny ourselves the opportunity to spiritually strengthen ourselves by reading His word?  When we lose sight of our eternal Heavenly destination by continually "texting", we fall into the fountain.

Now don't get me wrong; I'm not saying texting is evil.  Heck, this lady could have been texting the cure for cancer, the solution for world peace, or the fact that the Giants blanked the Cubs 3-0 last Saturday.  But if she was focused on her destination or had her priorities straight, she would have saved herself a lot of embarrassment.

In Luke 9:59-62, the Savior teaches a couple of people that don't quite have their priorities where they need to be:

"And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.  Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.  And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house.  And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God."

Whenever we put anything before Christ, we fall into the fountain.  Let's put Christ first and stay dry :).

## Friday, May 13, 2011

### Poinson Ivy

A couple of days ago I was out doing service.  A lady in the community needed some help with her backyard, and I was put under the assignment of cutting down all the honeysuckle and vines that were infesting the yard.

Just so y'all know, I'm a city-slicker.  I do not have a green thumb.  I was kinda confused with what was what when cutting stuff down.  Apparently I can't tell the difference between honeysuckle, vines, and.......

POISON IVY!!!!!!

I'll tell you one thing, poison ivy isn't fun.  Since poinson ivy has been on my mind lately (like, every single second!!!), ﻿I thought a little bit about the process of how I'd received it.  I had heard that there might be poison ivy in this yard, but I hadn't paid attention to any of the warnings and acted as though there was nothing to worry about.  I don't know where it was that I came in contact with it, but had I not been careless in my workings, it could have been prevented.

Because the oil in the poison ivy severly irritates your skin, there is a tremendous itch that doesn't seem to go away.  Because of my desire to satisfy the itch, I scratch it.  All this does is spread the oil and cause more of your skin to become subject to its wrath, but for that brief moment in time the craving was met and I was content with it.

I love to take nice hot showers, but this is very dangerous when you have poison ivy.  When the hot water hits your skin, it opens up the pores in your skin, which allows the oil from the poison ivy to rapidly spread throughout your skin.  Though I knew I should take cold showers instead, I refused to give up my conveniences and the lifestyle I am used to living.

Once you see the signs of poison ivy, you should start to take care of it by putting special lotion on it, or something to ease the pain.  I procrastinated by barely putting stuff on it a couple of days ago, several days after I knew there was a problem.

All in all, it's not like I wanted poison ivy to get all over my skin and live in constant misery, but I'm not doing my part to get rid of the pain.

Think of my unfortunate encounter with poison ivy and compare it to the snares of addiction.

﻿There is hope because of Christ's Atonement.  We have to power to change.

## Tuesday, May 10, 2011

### Star Wars and.....

I LOVE Star Wars!!!

Oh my goodness, it is the most epic space drama ever conceived, and is truly a masterpiece of the cinematic age.  What's pretty cool is that there are two seperate parts to the Star Wars saga, the original Trilogy, and the Prequel Trilogy.

The first Star Wars movie to come out was Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.  It was released in 1977 followed by the releases of Episodes V and VI in 1980 and 1983 respectivly.  These three movies consisted of the original Triology, and was very well received by the public.  So well received, in fact, that though I was not alive when each of these movies came out, my parents taught me of the awesome history of their makings and release.

But then.... several years later in 1999..... came the release of Episode I: The Phantom Menace!  Star Wars was back on the map, and I could witness the release of these all new Episodes!  I even got to see Episode II in theatres in an epic movie palace in downtown San Francisco, and I'll tell you what.... it was a sight to behold!

There are mixed feelings about the new trilogy.  I'll admit, I even have a few gripes about how the new movies were put out, but the fact remains that the new Episodes are not there to take away from the epicness of the original Trilogy, but are there to compliment, to build up, and to give a more full story of what was presented in those classics.

How does this all correlate with the Bible and Book of Mormon?!?

Well, first of all..... they're awesome!!!  But let's take a look at the Bible first.  It's not only the most loved book of the Christian world (which is a good thing; it's the word of God!), but it is also regarded as a literary masterpiece.  The poetry and moral teachings found within have inspired humans for countless generations to be better people.  The recorded mortal ministry of our Savior is found only in the Bible.

So then.... what is the Book of Mormon?

GREAT question!!!  :)  The Book of Mormon is volume of holy scripture comparable to the Bible, but it is a record of the people in the ancient America's testifying of our Savior.  In this regard, it is Another Testament of Jesus Christ.

So..... then what?!?  Is the Bible not good enough?  Why would you want to follow another book of scripture when the Bible already teaches about Jesus Christ?

Just as the new episodes of Star Wars only enhance our understanding and history of what takes place in the original episodes, the Book of Mormon doesn't take away from our love of the Bible.  It proves in fact that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the ENTIRE world, and that God loves ALL of His children, even those that lived anciently on the American continent.  Book of Mormon prophets testified of Christ which also gives us a grander view of His teachings and ministry.  When Christ came and personally visited the people on this side of the world after His ressurection, He taught the them the same Gospel he taught over in Jerusalem.

The only differences between this analogy of The Book of Mormon and the new episodes of Star Wars is that there's no cheesy romance story, no Jar Jar Binks, and no overload of computer graphics.  The Book of Mormon is just as epic (if not more so) as the Bible.

I guess this next picture sums it up the best...

Now may the force be with you.....

## Sunday, May 8, 2011

### Superman.....

A couple of weeks ago (before all the crazy flooding), I had my first opportunity to go to Metropolis, IL: Home of Superman!  The city has a huge statue dedicated to the historic Superhero, and I got to stand beneath his shadow!

Gosh...... epic!  Even though he stands tall and strong for truth, justice, and the American Way, Superman himself has:
A mother.

I'm so grateful for my mother.  Golly, I don't know what more to say than...

Love you, mom.  :)

## Saturday, May 7, 2011

### Flooding in Metropolis

Sometimes, we face extreme struggles and trials in our lives.  This past week, many members of the community were hit hard by a natural disaster.  Paducah, KY and Metropolis, IL (along with many other surrounding communities) became victims of a historic flooding this past week.  Myself along with 9 other missionaries volunteered of our time and efforts to try and save those homes bound for destruction by water.

I believe that sometimes God allows these natural disasters to happen so that we as human beings can see the potential we have to show and express love.  The prophet Mormon taught us that (Moroni 7:47):

"...charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him."

So many people in Metropolis and Paducah showed that pure Christ-like love.  The feelings we receive as we perform charity will endure forever.  The service we receive as acts of charity from others will endure in our hearts forever.  While homes were being destroyed this past week, hearts were being built up and strengthened.