Archive for August, 2007

27
Aug

I remember…Elder Faust

   Posted by: John    in I Remember...

Although I don’t remember exactly what year it was, I have some recollection of the first time I saw James Faust.  The Corvallis stake was being split and the Lebanon stake was created.  Elder Faust was the visiting general authority.  I don’t remember many details, but Henry Wolthius (who I have a huge amount of respect for) was made the first president of the new Lebanon stake.

I don’t recall seeing Elder Faust again until I was on my mission in Australia.  He was at a stake conference in the Newcastle, New South Wales stake.  I don’t remember if the stake was being reorganized or if he was just visiting.  However, he was on the stand with his wife, along with my mission president and his wife, Burton S. and Beverly Tingey.  The Tingey’s were spoke, then Elder Faust got up and said something along the lines of “having know Buzz and Bev Tingey for a long time”.  It was one of the funniest things for us missionaries to hear.

During the past several years, I have grown to enjoy hearing Elder Faust speak in general conference.  People seem to develop a fondness for certain general authorities, and he became one of my favorites.  His open and frank discourses were ones that I would listen to with rapt attention.  You could feel the earnestness and sincerity of his words and know that he truly spoke the words of God.

I have thought several times during the past few conferences that he was not looking well.  I guess I was right.  I will miss his talks and presence.  However, there are others who I enjoy, Elder Packer, Elder Holland, Elder Uchtdorf, to name a few.  They will fill in and others will come along to become new favorites.  For now, I pay my respects to Elder Faust and thank him for his words, example and presence among us.

We had Ward Conference last Sunday. President Olsen spoke about having a broken heart and a contrite spirit as an offering to the Lord.

This has been one of the areas that I have always struggled with in some way. A broken heart is often associated with sadness or depression. Our Father in Heaven wants us to be happy, not sad or depressed.

As I listened to the President Olsen speak, I had another thought that makes a lot more sense. For some reason, the only similar thing I could think of was boot camp. New recruits are put through several weeks of difficult tasks and intense training. They are also taught to follow orders immediately and without reservation. They are broken to do the will of their superiors.

I think that is what God means when he says to have a broken heart. Rather than sadness or remorse (we need those things in regards to repentance), our hearts are set to do the will of God immediately and without reservation. There is no room for objection to or disobedience of the commandments.

As we do this, our good thoughts and actions will become good habits. Our faith will increase because we will feel the presence of God daily. Our hearts will be “broken” to do the will of God continually, without reservation

10
Aug

Truth and Obfuscation (August 2007)

   Posted by: John    in Misc Spritual, Older Posts

As I’ve been reading various blogs, I have noticed an interesting topic being discussed.  It has to do with Jesus and his parentage.  The person who has posted the most seems to have a good religious background, and has taken time to learn some of the languages the Bible was originally written in.  He argues that many, if not most, of the stories contained in the Bible are just not right or believable, based on his study of the original manuscripts.

As an example, he talks about the miracles of Jesus as being written after the fact by some years (which we already know), but exaggerated to make Jesus appear to be more than just a man.  During the course of these “discoveries”, he says he has come to some different conclusions about religion, God and life.

Among some of these things, I have read, in several separate places, discussions on who Jesus’ father really was.  Most of them say that Jesus’ father was indeed Joseph, who impregnated Mary in the same way mankind has always done.  The result of this idea is that Jesus was simply a man who, although favored of God, was no different than any other mortal man.

I find it so amazing how people can tarnish what little truth they do have.  The Bible was given to man to give them the word of God.  Nephi was prophetic when he wrote that people would say all they needed was a Bible, and nothing else could possibly be given.  Now, we have those who take that Bible and attempt to show that it is nothing more than fantasy, a product of ancient writers with large imaginations.

This shouldn’t really be surprising, seeing as how the history of man has been riddled with those who reject the words of God.  I just find it very interesting that I would run across it in several places in the past couple of weeks.  It is no wonder that God only gives a very small portion of His wisdom to most people.  They look for a sign or wonder, hoping that God will “prove” himself to them, when in reality it is they who must prove themselves to God.

I mentioned in our last testimony meeting that I had met some very nice people who were of the opinion that organized religion was just a way to tie people down, that nobody could know for certain if any one church or denomination was really correct.  That was the same Sunday that I was able to confirm Ashley and confer the gift of the Holy Ghost, after having baptized her the previous afternoon.  I said that after those experiences of exercising the Priesthood and feeling the spirit, there was no doubt in my mind that this was the true church.

A couple of people later, Jim Sevy stood and, to paraphrase, said that it was actually easy to know the church was true.  You simply start out by doing the things you know you should be doing, like going to church, praying, fasting, and accepting callings.  If you do it right, the church becomes a way of life and you feel the spirit during lessons, talks, and in your home.  Then you know it is true.  But you have to make the effort.  God isn’t going to force it on you.

For those who have the spirit and their testimonies, it is very easy to picture Jesus as the literal Son of God, perfect in every way, and the only person who can finish our journey back to God.  God’s truth does not change regardless of man’s desire and effort to alter it.  Truth gets lost in the clutter of speculation, lies and deceit.  But it is there, ready to be discovered and learned.  Those who seek it honestly and humbly have found it.

The rest, according to Section 121:38  are left unto themselves, “to kick against the pricks, to persecute the saints, and to fight against God”, unenlightened and unable to recognize what is right and what is not.