Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Keeping It Real

Scriptures teach us truths
 from God
One of the great pleasures of my mission has been to spend an hour everyday studying the doctrine and teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It has been an enriching experience and everyday I receive a little more of the feeling that this is all true. I have been able to read the teachings of Jesus Christ himself, the teachings of His disciples that carried on the work after Jesus Christ was crucified and put to death, the teachings of Jesus Christ's disciples in the Americas, and the teachings of Jesus Christ's modern disciples. All congruent, all co-linear, all of them beautiful.

I am so grateful for our Savior Jesus Christ and our Loving Father in Heaven. Who care enough for us to give us truth. Pure, eternal truth. How hard it is to find pure truth nowadays. Through the restored gospel we find out that truth is "knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come" -Doctrine and Covenants 93:24. This simple, but powerful, definition opens a window for us into the eternities. It lets us know that those simple truths that Jesus Christ shared with us have worked in the past to improve our lives, they will work now, and they will work in the future.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Going higher.

We can go Spiritually higher.
I love to reach new potential. Growth and progress are wonderful things that can happen to us all the time. One of my favorite quotes is from a leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His name is Elder Boyd k. Packer. He said:

"You cannot force spiritual things. Such words as compel, coerce, constrain, pressure, demand, do not describe our privileges with the Spirit. You can no more force the Spirit to respond than you can force a bean to sprout, or an egg to hatch before its time. You can create a climate to foster growth, nourish, and protect; but you cannot force or compel: you must await the growth."

I know that what Elder Packer said is true. Our Spirit can be sensitive to the Spirit of our Creator when we create an environment where they can both grow towards each other, then that's when we will feel a strong connection to what is right. Seek out those things that build you spiritually. Avoid things that cloud your mind, dull your spirit, or make you feel uneasy. The more we develop our relationship with God the more we know and feel what those activities are. I know that we can replace them with better ones that will strengthen us and our families. With that kind of growth we can all go to a higher spiritual plane.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Check yo'self before you wreck yo'self.

Bob needs to Check his head.
The world today is full of different voices. Voices that want us to do one of any thousands of things. Now this really wouldn't be a problem if some of those choices weren't bad and could hurt us. We need direction and guidance from good principles if we are to keep happy, safe, and productive in this life. With all these voices and directions pulling on us how do we decide which one we need to take?

Back in the day, in 1992, The Beastie Boys released an album titled "Check your head." I know that the counsel that the Beastie Boys is true. We all need to check our heads continually to be able to receive direction, especially the direction from our Father in Heaven.

But how?

The scriptures give us some great insight into some ways that we can check our heads and make sure that we are on the right track.

One way that we can check our heads is to read from the scriptures, or "the words of Christ". "Angels speak... the words of Christ", and when we "feast upon the words of Christ... the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do."-2 Nephi 32:3 I definitely know that a lot of direction and guidance is contained in the scriptures, it doesn't all flow out at once, but when we seek for and really want it we will receive "that portion that shall be [given] unto every man."-Doctrine and Covenants 84:85

Prayer is also another great way that we have to check our heads. It is through prayer that we can get those subtle, but significant, spiritual promptings that can give us courage, direction, and advice. I know that prayer is of God and He wants to hear from us, seriously. "For if ye would hearken unto the Spirit which teacheth a man to pray, ye would know that ye must pray; for the evil spirit teacheth not a man to pray, but teacheth him that he must not pray." -2 Nephi 32:8. I know that these two simple principles have helped me greatly and kept me protected against a lot shtuff I didn't want to be a part of.  
I know that when we use the counsel of God that we can check ourselves before we wreck ourselves and be righteous and "he [or she] that is righteous is favored of God."-1 Nephi 17:35

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Tastes like liberty, don't worry, we free.

A couple notes before the beginning:

1. I hope your new years revolution is alive and well and...

2. I feel like you can never have too much review of freedom so here goes...

Eagles love freedom too!
So yeah, freedom is awesome. I love freedom. I'm a natural born, cheese burger-eating, American flag waving, 4x4 truck driving, (Native) American. So I just wanted to share a few thoughts that I had on freedom recently.

Freedom was something that I had wanted to write a blog on for a long time but there seemed to be contradictions the more I thought about it. How can we become more free if we are living under so many rules? I knew that there had to be an answer to the questions I had. I found a huge piece of the puzzle several weeks ago as I was studying the subject in a talk given by Robert M. Wilkes, chairman of the Recreation Department at Brigham Young University-Idaho. He gave a wonderful analogy that contrasted the difference between freedom from and the freedom to do.

Darth Vader didn't really like those
Rebels at all...
Freedom from is the kind of freedom I most commonly think of. I think of freedom from oppression, from rules, from restrictions, and from having a downer time. Freedom from is incredibly important, I think our Founding Fathers definitely had this kind of freedom in mind when they set up the United States. The rebels in StarWars definitely had this kind of freedom in mind when they retaliated against the iron fist of Lord Vader and the former Chancellor Palpatine. But Brother Wilkes had some wise words for me as I read his talk. He says:

"Too often, we believe the myth that we are free to do whatever we want to do. True, most of us are free to develop any ability or skill we choose; but until we develop them, we remain in bondage to our own lack of capacity. Even in lands of great political freedom, I fear that many of us live in bondage. Misunderstanding the principle of freedom, we lead lives of limited capacity and, thus, diminished choice. We tell ourselves that the only reason we are not doing certain positive, productive things is that we don’t want to. If we don’t play the piano, for example, we like to think it’s because we don’t want to. Actually, we don’t play because we are not free to. Remember, if we are only free to choose one thing—that is, not to play—we are not really free."

"So freedom is not just freedom from—freedom from interference, restraint, responsibility—although there certainly are things we want to be free from. But the greatest freedom, the freedom of God, is the freedom to do.... God is the greatest of all beings because, for one thing, he is the most free of all beings. And he has invited us to become like him." (emphasis added)

I know that when we follow God's commandments we become more free. It sounds weird, I know. I didn't really understand it in the beginning but I now know a little bit more that that is true. Try it and see for yourself. We all have the ability to do what we want, which is a huge responsibility, but I know that when we sincerely progress towards God through His commandments we will feel the most fulfillment. Progression doesn't come from having more posessions or power, not that those things are evil, but it comes from when we, as human beings, are able to use this time here on earth for what it was intended, to help one another out and "prepare to meet God"- Alma 34:32. 

Saturday, December 31, 2011


res·o·lu·tionˌrezəˈlo͞oSHən, noun: 

  1. A firm decision to do or not to do something.
  2. Not as cool as...

rev·o·lu·tionˌrevəˈlo͞oSHən, noun: 

  1. A forcible overthrow of a government or social order for a new system.
  2. For our purposes we'll go with the definition: A forcible overthrow of [our old bad habits] for a new system [that we can feel totally better with].
You read it right, I'm proposing a revolution. I've heard of New Year's "resolutions" but I have two problems with that: 1. that doesn't sound near as cool and/or as hard core as a "revolution" and 2. I think that New Year's "resolutions" has been used up and doesn't quite have the same power as a "revolution" does. But a revolution is a great thing when those things that are tossed forcibly out of our lives are bad things. Bad habits make it hard for us to enjoy life, have a sense of well being, and be conected with those we love. Things like being with family, expanding our worthy talents, and serving others are always great things to do and show our love for one another.  

Stick it to the devil.
God, through his prophets, has always encouraged us to revolt against those things that tear us away from Him and bring us sorrow. Because "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other." (Matthew 6:24) Just like in political and military struggles all throughout time; there are sides, and we have the ability to choose which one we are on. Luckily there aren't a whole lot of choices, theres just two in fact; the good guys: God and Jesus Christ and His followers and the bad guys: the devil and his followers. I know that we need to make a constant effort to keep the devil away from us, our friends, and our families. The steps are simple and the rewards are priceless.  

Through learning more about Jesus Christ and His great example we can receive great protection and help from God. In our revolting against the devil we also need to remember to become closer to God. A prophet in the Book of Mormon counseled that we need to "[become] as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon [us]" (Mosiah 3:19). Our lives may not always be comfortable or easy but I know that when we persevere with patience, love, and humility we get a sense of peace; that feeling that everything is going to be okay. I know because I've been in places that weren't comfortable or easy for me to be in, and I've been able to have that peace with me. I know that pretty much everyone has had a time in their lives that wasn't comfortable or easy and that its hard when you don't feel any hope. But I know that Christ is that ultimate source of hope and direction. 

So feel free to join with me and start, or continue, the revolution against the things that take us away from what's important! The devil is lame and has got nothin' on the great feelings and experiences that come to us as we stay close to the Lord.   




Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas! ...Christmas Post 2011...

So... Merry Christmas! Congratulations, we made it to another Christmas day and Christmas season. And what a sweet season it has been. I know from my experience that as I strive to think more about the Savior I feel a greater sense of peace and a greater sense of what I need to do to feel more at peace. I know that peace is something that God wants us to feel and He has given us the way that we can feel all the peace we need. It's through His son, Jesus Christ. He gave us the teachings, and the perfect example, and that atonement that makes it possible for us to be, and feel, "at one" with God, our Father. I'm so grateful for that. I'm grateful for our elder brother, Jesus Christ, and His strength and His testimony, His Death and His life, and for the hope that one day we may all return with Him to our Father in Heaven. I know He lives. I know He is real. He has always invited us to come closer to Him, and He will continue to do so, forever and ever. I offer that same invitation to come closer to Jesus Christ, not only at this special time of the year, but always. For that is the right time given to us to bring ourselves closer to Him: always. I leave this with you in the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ, amen.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Rez Pez

Before Poplar

So a couple three weeks ago I was sitting in the computer lab and another missionary offered me a piece of delicious chocolate pez candy. Now, at the time I was day dreamin' of my time when I lived on the Fort Peck Rez, back in Poplar. Back in the day when McDonalds was a basic food group, Rez Dogs were our entourage, and where people could use suran wrap as a windshield. You know, the good times... I heartily accepted his generous offer and as I glanced sideways my Rez dream ladened mind changed the lettering on the wrapper from "Pez" to "Rez". My mind started Rezzin' out things in automatically. It was awesome.  Then I started to think what if we started to do that in the Gospel? The gospel offers us great teachings and, as we live them, they will just become a natural part of what we do. Jesus said "if ye love me, keep my commandments"

After Poplar
 (John 14:15). He also said, later in that same chapter, "....he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him." (John 14:21) I love the Rez. So I do Rez'd out stuff and I think Rez'd out stuff. I also love Jesus Christ, and I know that when we fill our heads and our hearts with the teachings and love of Christ we too will have those automatic thoughts of the gospel. We will do Christ-like things and think Christ-like thoughts. Stay firm in your love of Christ (and of the Rez) and we will go from thinking and doing to knowing and becoming!