Tag Archives: encouragement

I Love To See The Memphis Temple

I Love To See The Memphis Temple

Going to the temple is a big deal for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is the culmination of years spent hearing about the temple, studying it, and preparing ourselves to enter it.

Having been a member since 2008, my only experience in the Memphis Temple was to perform baptisms.

Life as a Convert and son in front of Memphis Temple sign

Life as a Convert and son, Losh, in front of Memphis Temple sign on a recent trip to do baptisms.

While the experience was good, it left me wanting more, not to mention I felt out of place being one of the only un-endowed adults present (endowed members are those who have previously been through the temple).

The particular temple assigned to our church is the Memphis Temple, located in Memphis, Tennessee, about 2.5 hours away. The Memphis Temple just so happens to be closing for remodeling at the end of the month. With that in mind, I have felt an increasing desire to get there before it closed.

There wasn’t one specific reason I wanted to go, but a few stuck out in my mind more than others. Since I joined the church, I have wanted to go. To me, it felt like I wasn’t a complete member until I went through the temple. So here are a few reasons why I made going to the temple a priority.

Curiosity

Having been in the church for many years, and being taught so many things about what goes on in the temple, but not having experienced it for myself left me curious. I wanted to be in the know. I wanted to experience the temple for myself. And I wanted to know just what happened in that Holy place anyway?

The ordinances and ceremonies of the temple are simple. They are beautiful. They are sacred. They are kept confidential lest they be given to those who are unprepared. Curiosity is not a preparation.” LDS.org

Memphis Temple

Memphis Temple

Garments

Garments are to Mormons what the Hijab is to a Muslim. It is an outer expression of an inner commitment. At one time, I showed my commitment with head covering. Then I became somewhat of the world and wanted to express myself with my hair styles. I quit covering (for that and many other reasons) and though I occasionally wore covers, the experience just wasn’t the same. There is something magical about putting on a piece of fabric every single day knowing that it symbolizes your commitment to your Heavenly Father and I wanted to experience that with the garments.

Wearing the temple garment has deep symbolic significance. It represents a continuing commitment. Just as the Savior exemplified the need to endure to the end, we wear the garment faithfully as part of the enduring armor of God. Thus we demonstrate our faith in Him and in His eternal covenants with us.” – LDS.org

Blessings

We are promised blessings when we follow Heavenly Father’s commandments. Some of these blessings are contingent upon covenants we make and our obedience to those covenants. A few blessings that come to mind are those from tithing, church attendance, serving others, and fulfilling our callings. When we do each of these things, we are blessed.  Going through the temple awards us extra blessings. Who am I to say no to extra blessings?!

Those who understand the eternal blessings which come from the temple know that no sacrifice is too great, no price too heavy, no struggle too difficult in order to receive those blessings.” – President Thomas S. Monson

To Feel The Spirit

I’ve always had a unique relationship with and a strong testimony of the Holy Spirit. I’ve felt it strongly, and often and never questioned if it existed or where it came from. To know that I could feel that, but much stronger at the temple was very appealing to me… so I did it.. I became worthy and got my temple recommend which was my ticket into the Memphis Temple.

My First Impressions

I recently fulfilled my desire to participate in the sacred ordinances within the Memphis Temple. To say it was an experience I will never forget is an understatement. It was wonderful. I am so grateful that I was able to get over myself and a few of my selfish habits in order to enter the temple as a worthy member and receive my endowments.

Life as a Convert at the Memphis Temple

Life as a Convert at the Memphis Temple

If you are preparing to enter the temple for the first time I encourage you to participate in the Temple Prep class provided by the church as well as read the following articles:

Temples Reflect the Savior’s Love for Us
Personal Preparation for Temple Blessings
Preparing to Enter the Holy Temple
Turn toward the Temple

May God bless you as you progress in your journey to the temple and all that it has to offer.

Believing Christ – Having and Living Faith

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Believing Christ – Having and Living Faith.

Today in Church the Sunday School lesson was about the first principles and ordinances of the gospel. It reminded me of a book called A taste of Believing God by Beth Moore. It appears to be a small part of a greater whole of book and video lessons. This small part focuses on faith. Its broken down into 5 Chapters with each one focusing on another point. These points are:

1. God is who He says He is
2. God can do what He says He can do
3. I am who God says I am
4. I can do all things through Christ
5. God’s Word is alive and active in me
Believing Christ

1. God is who He says He is

“Know that the Lord is God… Surrounded by a society that spouts many gods but at best nobly agrees to equate them, you and I can know that the Lord is God”

This is something that I struggled with before converting. I often thought, if God is who He says He is, then why can nobody agree and see that? Well, we are human. We often let other people influence our thoughts and choices. We chose to believe what we want, but others can often times easily sway our thoughts. This book discusses how intellectuals and scholars are very good at convincing us of untrue things.

We then turn to those scholars for answers and upon receiving an answer we deem worthy we tend to disregard what we have been taught. We cease to believe in things.

2. God can do what He says He can do

This section focuses more on miracles and that claims that the world has far fewer miracles now than it did in the Kingdom time. It says the West has the fewest of them all possibly because we have less faith than others and points out that places with more faith seem to have more miracles.

“Sensationalism seeks an experience, and cessationism believes only what it personally sees and experiences.”

I think we each fall into these categories at one time or another. Something happens to us that is completely unexpected and it leaves us with the sensationalism viewpoint but when we desire something to happen we have that of cessationism.

We don’t have faith that miracles happen. We feel like God must prove Himself to us. It is not because there are few wonders of God, it is because we dismiss them. We chose to believe they are from something else. We ignore the tiny miracles and seek bigger ones. We desire that note from God telling us our miracle has arrived. Only when something happens to us personally do we chose to call it a miracle. Open your eyes. Miracles are all around.

Believing Christ - Having and Living Faith

3. I am who God says I am

Talking about how Joshua received his new name…

“In essense, the name Hoshea means “deliverer” while Joshua (Jehoshua) means “Jehovah delivers.”… If I were chosen by God to lead a grasshopper people into a land of giant opposition, I’d want to know He, not me, was the true Deliverer.”

Often we forget that Heavenly Father, not us is what has helped us to overcome a certain obstacle in our life. We often think that we are what led things to happen. We dont give credit where it is due. We need to think about Moses and how he changed Joshuas names and remember to change our way of thinking.

“We are blessed, chosen, adopted, favored, redeemed, and forgiven.”

We are!

“Understand that while it isn’t always easy to believe we are who God says we are, blessing comes to those who do!”

If we deny these things which He tells us, then we are denying Him. We are saying that we do not believe Him and we doubt Him. Believing somethings can be hard at times but if we become like a child and have that pure faith then this will become easier. We will KNOW that we are who God says we are.

4. I can do all things through Christ

This section reminded me of another book called Believing Christ. Its a fabulous read. Here is a short speech that coincides with the book. Pay special attention to the section titled Becoming One
Believing Christ

5. God’s Word is alive and active in me

“An ongoing relationship with God through His Word is essential to the Christians’ consistent victory! Making the study of God’s Word a priority is undoubtedly the best place to start.”

I seem to think that this is pretty common sense here. In order to be with God in the end then we need to continue on the right path. If we fall off we can always step back on but wouldnt it be much easier to just maintain that relationship? Having that ongoing relationship can make us better. Studying God’s Word (not just reading it) can also make us better and it truly is a great place to start.

“When we receive it by reading it, meditating on it, believing it, and applying it, the life of the Word becomes lively in us… Try Jeremiah’s approach while your’e at it. Don’t just read God’s Words. Receive them like a famished man at a feast.”

Notice this did not just say reading it. We have to read, study, meditate and apply in order for it to become effective. We cannot simply read an instruction booklet on how to put a bookcase together and expect the bookcase to magically be put together. We have to read the booklet, think about what it says, believe that the instructions are true and then do them. If we do those things then we end up with a bookcase. If we fail to do those things then we end up with a lot of wood, but no bookcase.

How do you apply the gospel to your life? 

Receiving My Patriarchal Blessing

Receiving My Patriarchal Blessing

If somebody offered to give you a roadmap for your entire life, would you take it? Can you believe I had the chance to get one before and turned it down? What was I thinking? Recently, I had the opportunity again (it’s actually always there, I just never acted on it) and took it.

Prior to getting it, I had some misconceptions about how it would all go down. I didn’t realize that kids could be in the room, so that was one thing that held me back (The Patriarch also lived quite a bit away in a town I am unfamiliar with and leaving the kids with a sitter and driving that far alone just didn’t seem appealing). But, we have a new Patriarch now that lives closer and traveled to our church last Sunday to give some blessings.

Receiving my Patriarchal Blessing by Life as a Convert #lds #mormon

I was sitting in Relief Society and overheard the lady in front of me saying she was getting hers that day. “How awesome” I thought. Then I got to thinking, I would love to have mine. A few minutes later the Relief Society President sat down next to me and asked me if I had mine. When I told her no, she said the Patriarch was going to be there that day and if I wanted mine, I should do it. Talk about last minute!

There was a little hesitation on my part, mostly because I hadn’t prepared for it, and I am one of those people that like routine. I want to know what is coming next and get a little antsy when things change. Having a blessing that day was going to change all of my plans, but I agreed to it.

I took the kids to their Pa’s house after church and headed back to wait for my turn. In no time at all, I was in the room with the Patriarch and Relief Society President hearing some amazing things. Looking back, it was one of those things that seems stressful even though you know things are going to be ok. Now, I just wish I hadn’t waited as long, but I really believe this was the perfect time to do it.

I’m currently waiting on mine to be mailed to me and it’s exciting. Some parts really stood out to me and I can’t wait to have it in my hand.

Do you have a Patriarchal blessing? If so, do you read it often?

 

Living With Thanksgiving Daily

I’m not sure how I’ve been a member of my church for 8 years and only asked to speak once, but a few weeks ago I had the chance to speak again. My talk was on living with thanksgiving daily and since the Thanksgiving holiday is right around the corner, I decided to share my talk with you…

LIVING WITH THANKSGIVING DAILY

 Living With Thanksgiving Daily

I like to think that I am a thankful person and that I live with gratitude, but I know that I don’t always say it or show it in a way that others would understand. If I were to make a list of things I am grateful for, I know it would vary from your lists. I realize my list has changed through the seasons of our lives. At one time I prayed often for the nurses and doctors keeping my children alive. Now, I find my prayers focusing on their therapists and those who are helping them grow. It doesn’t mean that I am no longer thankful for those that helped in the past, my point is, our lists change with time.

We often take things for granted, especially here in the States where it seems we have all these opportunities without having to do much ourselves. It’s easy to say “Thank God school is starting soon” when we have little ones at home during the Summer driving us up a wall, but how grateful are we truly for that blessing that is education?

Thomas S. Monson in a conference talk in 2010 said “A grateful heart comes through expressing gratitude to our Heavenly Father for His blessings and to those around us for all that they bring into our lives.” Have we prayed and thanked Heavenly Father for the everyday things in our life often taken for granted? Have we shown appreciation for those around us who give so much to serve us?

Pathway of Gratitude

We can begin showing gratitude today. God gave us just a few basic needs, but in today’s world we are overcome with so many wants and desires. Are we even showing thanksgiving daily for all of those things we already have?

Imagine your life now as a path through the woods. You know right where this path is, right where it leads, and you always take it. It’s well worn, familiar, and easily traveled. Now, imagine that this is a path of living with very little gratitude.

How can we change that? It’s simple. We start by taking a new path – one that we must create. At first, you may try to go down that old pathway. Somedays you may make it through to the very end of it without realizing you traveled the old path, but then you begin making that new path your main course of travel. As you travel down it, it starts to resemble the old pathway; It becomes well worn and easy to navigate, but this time you are traveling with gratitude in your heart. Overtime it becomes natural to use this path.

Humbling Ourselves

Just recently I sat in on Aloshua’s physical therapy session. He works multiple times a week with a physical therapist who helps him with gross motor functions like transferring from his wheelchair, working on upper body strength and even walking. I was able to capture a picture of him standing without supporting himself with his hands. I teared up thinking of the progress he has made. Because Aloshua lives with me, I am sometimes blind to the progress he is making. When I got home that day, I realized that I have been slacking on thanking his therapists for those everyday blessings.

In that moment, I was able to humble myself. I am not to credit for Aloshua’s progress. There is an entire team of people who deserve that credit, but at the top is Heavenly Father. I know that without Him, Aloshua wouldn’t be where he is now.

Being Sincere

In Mosiah 26:39 It says “… being commanded of God to pray without ceasing, and to give thanks in all things.” – God commanded them to give thanks in all things.

What happens when we follow God’s commandments? Simple. We are blessed. Also in a 2010 conference talk President Monson says “My brothers and sisters, do we remember to give thanks for the blessings we receive? Sincerely giving thanks not only helps us recognize our blessings, but it also unlocks the doors of heaven and helps us feel God’s love.”

Alma 34:18-26 says “Yea, cry unto him for mercy for he is mighty to save. Yea, humble yourselves and continue in prayer unto him. Cry unto him when ye are in your fields, yea, over all your flocks. Cry unto him in your houses yea, over all your household, both morning, mid-day, and evening. Yea, cry unto him against the power of your enemies. Yea, cry unto him against the devil who is an enemy to all righteousness. Cry unto him over the crops of your fields, that ye may prosper in them. Cry over the flocks of your fields that they may increase. But this is not all, ye must pour out your souls in your closets, and your secret places, and in your wilderness.”

If we replace “cry” with “give thanks” we can see that Heavenly Father wants us to humble ourselves and thank him for those blessings sincerely.

Words And Deeds

It’s important that we recognize those we are thankful for by telling them “Thank you”. It’s equally important that we recognize that thanksgiving isn’t always spoken words. We can show appreciation by our actions – small actions even. Give a hug to show appreciation. Send flowers. After a meal, clean off the table.

How you act will lead people to being thankful for you.

I know that as you live with thanksgiving daily that you will be blessed. You will see an uplifting in your mood and blessings from Heavenly Father will appear that you didn’t see before. It is my hope that all of you can live with thanksgiving daily.