Sunday, September 7, 2008


"True discipleship is for volunteers only." It's been too long since I had an Elder Maxwell quote. I love this one! To be a true disciple of Christ one must desire it within. And at times somethings need to be left behind.

I love the island of Ovalau in Fiji. I spent 4 months here as a missionary. It was awesome! And I've been lucky enough to get out to it in both of my return trips. The island has a beautiful coastline, with a mountainous interior (not a "rocky mountain" standard, but for Fiji). There is only one town on the island, Levuka. The first capital of Fiji (it has since moved to Suva). The little town of Levuka has a lot of heritage and a lot of pride. Anywhere you are on the island, however, there's only one road that will take you to town. Any other road will end up in some other village. There's just the one road, which circles the island, that goes to Levuka. What's the message?? John 14:6= Christ is the only road back to our Father, so we better follow Him.

In Matthew chapter 4 we learn of the calling of 4 apostles; Peter, Andrew, James and John. The Savior testified of who He was and called them to "Follow Him". This call is for all who wish to hear it. We need to follow Him. I had students search verses 18-22 to see how these disciples responded to the call. They were quick to notice the words "straightway" and "immediately" in verses 20 and 22. They also brought up that they left what they were doing to follow Him. I had them circle the word "left" in those to verses. True discipleship takes sacrifice and the Lord won't force us to give up things. That has to come from within. Remember, "For volunteers only." Wow! What it must have taken to leave behind their jobs, their source of income and food, their families. It's amazing to see such faith when we really look at what they did.

I asked a class, "When have you made sacrifices and left things behind, so that you could better follow the Savior?" A dark haired senior, the class president of that class, shared about deleting certain songs, even songs she liked, but knew were inappropriate. Then, a small, very quiet, blond haired girl raised her hand and said, "My friends. I left my friends in Richfield and came here hoping to find better friends."

Students then were each given a piece of paper and wrote down one thing that needed to be left behind so they could follow the Savior. My amazing and domestic wife totally made me a miniature fishing net for students to come and leave behind their worldly nets that might get them tangled up.

I know that His path is hard, but it's worth following. Let's volunteer to be better disciples by picking something from our lives that can be left behind.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Loosening the tongues...

In Third Nephi 26 we learn an important principle of teaching; I'll call it the principle of loosening the tongues. Christ had been teaching the people and breaking bread with them, and then we get verse 14: And it came to pass that he did teach and minister unto the children of the multitude of whom hath been spoken, and he did loose their tongues, and they did speak unto their fathers great and marvelous things, even greater than he had revealed unto the people; and he loosed their tongues that they could utter.
On this page (457 in the Book of Mormon) I have written from sometime in my seminary teaching training "I will seek to be like the Savior by loosening the tongues of the students/people I teach."

In class a few days ago I was briefly introducing some of the scripture mastery references for the New Testament and trying to help the students get an understanding of what those passages mean. We were discussing Matthew 25:40 and how when we've done service for someone, it's as if we'd done it for the Savior. Then, we turned to the flipside and started talking about what if we do something bad to someone... It's hard to think that our unkind words, or unkind actions that we commit against others are really being committed against the Savior. I tried to explain how everyone is a child of God and if we hurt someone we're hurting God, because that's his child. A young lady with dark brown, super curly hair looked up and said, "Yeah, because Christ suffered for all of our pains and sorrows and afflictions, so when we cause pain to others we really are doing it to Christ."

I was blown away. What she had revealed was much greater than what I had revealed or could have revealed. I had never seen that scripture so literally before.

I am so grateful for what I learned that day and for the Spirit enlightening the mind of a student and loosening her tongue to speak of such wonderful things.

Saturday, August 23, 2008


So, one week of school is down and I'm still alive. I love being a seminary teacher. I teach six classes a day: "0" hour, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th and 6th. I have more than 130 students and easily had everyone's name by the second day (many returning students). First week shocks=My feet and legs are not in teaching shape. By Thursday and Friday I was taking many an opportunity to sit and get off my feet for a little bit. My voice, was also not in teaching shape. Our last day of the first week was opening football game and my voice was completely gone after that. However, as far as teaching goes the Lord has blessed me. I'm excited to learn and grow as a teacher as I know I have SO much to learn. The students are great! They are eager for the gospel. One student commented on a "survey" thingy that I handed out that she really wants her testimony to grow this year. I know that this is very typical for the youth of the Church and hope we'll remember that in our interactions with them. It was a great first week.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Happy Birthday Harry!!

Well, to celebrate the birthday of "The boy who lived" I thought I'd post a spiritual analogy from Harry Potter. This was one I used in Jeremiah 30 to help teach about the power of Christ.
What is the power of Christ? What can Jesus do for me? Why do I need a Savior?

Harry, in Year Two at Hogwarts, finds himself in the Chamber of Secrets facing almost certain death from a Basilisk. The huge snake-like creature that kills just with a look of its eyes is being commanded by a memory of Harry's nemesis Lord Voldemort. Harry it seems is alone with no way out, but then in comes Fawkes, Dumbledore's Phoenix, to poke out the eyes of the Basilisk. Now Harry has a chance. Fawkes also brought Harry the sorting hat, which gave Harry the sword of Godric Gryffindor, which he used to fight and kill the Basilisk. Although he killed the Basilisk, he didn't escape unscathed. He took a fang to his arm, which would have killed him, but swooping in again came that Phoenix. It shed a tear into his wound and completely healed him. Then, if that wasn't enough, this magnificent bird carried Harry, Ginny, Ron, and a loopy Lockhart out of the Chamber delivering them from being trapped.

Now, long before J.K. penned The Chamber of Secrets, the Phoenix bird has been a symbol of Jesus Christ. A Phoenix, as I'm sure you know, rises from its ashes, symbolic of the Resurrection. And like Fawkes, our Savior is there for us to fight our enemies, to give us the sword of truth (it's sharp--to the dividing asunder), to heal us, and to deliver us!

How was Harry able to access such a powerful ally? The answer will help us see how we can gain the power of Christ in our lives.

Dumbledore told Harry that the only way for him to have summoned Fawkes to his aid was (I'm summarizing here) if Harry had been loyal to him. Later in the series Scrimgeour tries to recruit Harry to the ministry. Harry declines and the new minister comments that Harry must be Dumbledore's boy through and through.

Jeremiah 30:22 "And ye shall be my people, and I will be your God."

I testify that Jesus Christ, the Lord Jehovah, wants us to be His people. He wants to be our God so that He can fight for us, equip us with the weapons we need, heal us, and ultimately deliver us. I know that He will if we will be loyal to Him and keep His commandments.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

"When the Lord commands, do it."

Obedience...what comes to mind? Well, to me, I think obedience is the first law of heaven. What does that mean?
Our Priesthood/Relief Society lesson today, Ch. 13 from the Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, focused on this topic of obedience. The lesson began with a personal experience from the Prophet Joseph's life, where they had to up and move "in the middle of an especially severe winter." Although it was hard for them, did I mention they had to travel by sleigh and Emma was expecting twins, Joseph obeyed when the Lord commanded. A question was read in class, "How have you been blessed when you have obeyed...commands without hesitation?" My mind, with the help of a class comment, went to that phrase, "without hesitation." How do I get to where I can obey, without hesitation?

Why do we have commandments that we need to obey anyway? When we understand the doctrine it will help change our behavior. It will make it easier to obey and hopefully to obey without hesitation, so we can say with Joseph, "When the Lord commands, do it." Let's turn to section 82 of the Doctrine and Covenants to gain insight on why we have commandments:

8 And again, I say unto you, I give unto you a new commandment, that you may understand my will concerning you;

9 Or, in other words, I give unto you directions how you may act before me, that it may turn to you for your salvation.

I see two reasons in these verses. One, commandments are God's will. Two, commandments teach us how to act so that we can be saved.

Obedience, that's what should come first in our lives. When the Lord commands, do it!

I hope that understanding the why will improve my ability to obey. What are some other things that hinder our obedience?

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Fighting for family

The books of Nehemiah and Ezra teach us some great principles about the temple and the family. After King Solomon's death the Israel that his father David united splits in less than a year. The northern country is inhabited by Israel and the Jews take the south. Both countries end up getting conquered. The Persians had reign over the Jews and granted them return to their homeland. Here Ezra led and encouraged the Jews to build the temple. Later, Nehemiah was granted to return to Jerusalem as well, but his mission was to rebuild the wall around the city. A wall? Why did ancient cities have walls? One word: Protection.
They met some opposition to this project, coming from the Samaritans. But they overcame it because "the people had a mind to work" (Neh. 4:6). Nehemiah encouraged them saying, "Be not ye afraid of them: remember the Lord, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses" (Neh. 4:14).

Is the family being attacked? Do we today need protective walls around our families and the temple? What can we do to protect the family and fight Satan?

Here are some ideas from seminary students as we "built a wall" (red=Spanish Fork High, yellow= South Sevier High):

I love the imagery of this verse and I hope it's how I can be in this quest to protect our families:

Nehemiah 4: 17 They which builded on the wall, and they that bare burdens, with those that laded, every one with one of his hands wrought in the work, and with the other hand held a weapon."

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Cell phones?

So thinking about the coming year one of the classroom issues that I want to alleviate deals with cell phones. If you wonder how many high schoolers have them, check this out. This was from just one class of only 9th graders.

I also know that it becomes addicting to teenagers and some are staying up way late into the night texting. So...I've also been wondering how to teach students proper cell phone use. A scripture came to me during sacrament meeting.

Alma 38:12 Here Alma teaches his son Shiblon and all of us that we need to "bridle all [our] passions."
I think this will be great in Monroe, since they'll know more about bridles than I ever will.

Any other ideas??

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Tribute to Spanish Fork Jr. High

I haven't been teaching at this school since early January, but I just had the best experience there. The school was really nice to us seminary teachers. Even when I wasn't teaching there they gave me a birthday present (which I wouldn't have known about if it wasn't for Jen...Thanks!) and just this last Thursday I went for a visit and they got me a free yearbook. I had such a wonderful experience there and I'm glad I got to go back to say goodbye to many of the students. One student wrote in my yearbook that I should save his autograph, because it might be worth something when he's in the twelve.... :) Right afterwards there was a nice J/K. But it was still pretty funny. And with this kid I wouldn't doubt if it happened. I have a picture from my last day teaching there. I don't remember who wrote it, but I thought it was a great message. Well, I can't upload the picture for some reason, so you'll just have to visualize. It was written in black marker and circled three times; it read: If life gets hard, keep on going.

(posts from my two months in Monroe are on the way)

Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Hiring Story

So, it's been busy and crazy. I apologize for being out of operation for this last week or so. First of all, I want to testify that God knows us individually, He hears our prayers, and He is in the details of our lives. He is lining things up for you and for me even as we speak, we just don't usually know about it until the end result. Then, we look back in amazement and truly can recognize His hand in all things.
Esther, a Jew, was chosen to be queen in Persia (an empire stretching from India to Ethiopia) to king Ahasuerus. His right hand man, Haman, hated the Jews because they would not bow to him and decreed that they should all be killed. Not knowing that Esther was a Jew, the king agreed to let Haman carry out this order. Was it chance that Esther, a Jew, had been chosen as queen to be in the king's court so that she would be there at the right place and the right time to save her people? Mordecai phrased it best in a letter to his cousin Esther (which he raised as "his own daughter") saying, "Who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" (Esther 4:14). The Lord had lined things up perfectley for Esther to be there to save His chosen people. I don't think it was chance.
Let's go back to March 6th. CJ came to Spanish Fork to meet me as I was finishing class. We were going to go to the temple later that evening, but decided to just go right then. Luckily we had amazing friends to watch the girls who were willing to take them right away. We wanted to hit the 2:00 pm session, but made the 2:30 instead. It was a great time at the temple. April (hiring time) is just around the corner and the nerves of 'will I make it or not' were very high. I spent a lot of time thinking and praying in the temple about seminary teaching. As we left the temple an elderly woman approached us. She was wearing a crocheted beanie, a crocheted scarf and an older brown coat. She was also holding what looked like a sack lunch. She asked if we were going across town--which we weren't--since we just live down the street from the temple. I started to say, "No" and was outvoiced by my wife's answer of "Yes!" I then, lulling through my "no" added, "But we could," with a smile. We headed to the car and as CJ told this woman, Barbara, that I was trying to become a seminary teacher she said that her husband was a seminary teacher. And if that wasn't enough, she also told us that she used to be a hall advisor at the dorms, just like CJ is doing now. Coincidence...?
On the drive we learned about her family's background, where she was from, etc, and also explained who we were, our backgrounds and where we hailed from. Barbara who is now 78, although she claimed 77 saying that she wasn't going to have anymore birthdays, was very fun and an engaging conversationalist. She asked about the youth at Spanish Fork and then very matter of factly said, "Let's sing the songs of the Bible." When we finished with Malachi, she didn't miss a beat, quickly saying, "Now the New Testament." It was so fun. We were very excited to have met a new friend at the temple and glad that we could help her get back to her home. As we pulled up to her apartment building for her to get out she said, "I'll pray for you to be a seminary teacher."
March 7th, 7:10 am (the next morning). I'm in bed, but semi-conscious. I got up because I thought I heard the phone ringing. I went to check the caller id to see the name of my "pre-service" leader on it, having just called a couple of minutes earlier. I quickly called him back, wondering why he'd be calling so early. "Oh" I thought to myself, "he must be calling to confirm my next observation date." After only a matter of seconds, he asked if my wife was awake. I quickly got her and we both got to hear the offering of a full-time contract for me to teach seminary. The excitement was unbelievable. He explained why the offer was coming over a month early and told me that I would be going to Monroe, Utah to take the place of a teacher on medical leave. He explained what all would happen and what would happen the rest of the day and then that was it. I hung up the phone, turned to CJ and said, "CJ, do you remember that old lady from the temple yesterday...She was from Monroe, Utah."
That day I got observed by Bro. Vellinga (he said if I didn't do good he was taking it all back--no pressure right). I was teaching Esther. When we came to Mordecai's question I recounted this story to the class. Bro. Vellinga spoke up from the back of the class, "No, really? Was she really from Monroe?" (a valid question, what are the odds, since there are less than 2,000 people living there). He then said, "Now, what time were you at the temple?" I, caught off guard, stumbled through my memory and came up with, "From 2:30 to 4:30." He then went on to explain that he found out the day before (March 6) that they needed to hire someone. He was praying about it and trying to see who it should be. He felt good and turned in my name to the people in Salt Lake. Bro. Vellinga was in Arizona and didn't get home until around 11 pm that night. He checked his email and had received a "yes" confirmation email from Salt Lake at 4:35 pm. I don't know how He did it. But at the time that we were in the temple, and at the time we were with Barbara and she said she'd pray for me, he was in Arizona praying about it and they were in Salt Lake praying about it. I don't know how He lined it all up, but He did. We went back and found Barbara a few days later to tell her our story (only knowing where her apartment complex was, it was another miracle when she just happened to walk out of the locked complex right when we drove up). She nearly collapsed in shock and said, "I really did pray for you!" She was thrilled to show us pictures of what we know and love as Monroe, UT. I don't know why I need to be in Monroe right now, but I know I need to be there. I know that God is lining up events, people, etc. for each one of us. I pray that I'll have the trust and the confidence in Him to allow His will to be done always.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Why do I need the scriptures?

King Josiah? Ever heard of him. He was "eight years old when he began to reign" as king. Eight!?!?! I'm pretty sure my life consisted of collecting baseball cards and playing Mario Bro.'s at 8. Certainly not ruling a country (not to mention a country of idol worshipers). The two previous kings in Judah (the southern country after the division of the children of Israel after King Solomon's fall and death; it included the tribe of Judah, the tribe of Benjamin and some Levites), namely his father and grandfather, had ruled in wickedness. Josiah broke the trend. He was righteous. He wanted the temple to be repaired. While there, the high priest found the book of the law, or in other words, the scriptures. Well no wonder they'd gotten so wicked they had totally forgotten about the scriptures to the point that the scriptures were lost. When Josiah realized what had happened, "he rent his clothes" (2 Kings 22:11). He then caused the words to be read to the people and they all covenanted to keep the commandments and "Josiah [overturned] the worship of false gods,...and puts down idolatry" (2 Kings 23, chapter heading).
So, Josiah was a good guy before he even had the scriptures. But when he discovered the scriptures he was able to come closer to God through covenants and help his people rid themselves of iniquity.
President Benson said, "Studying and searching the scriptures is not a burden laid upon us by the Lord, but a marvelous blessing and opportunity."
How are we doing at this? Does it seem like something we just know we're supposed to do? Something on our checklist? Or, are we looking at this as a "marvelous blessing and opportunity." I LOVE the scriptures. I know that they are true and that they contain God's revealed word to His prophets. I know that they apply directly to us and have the answers we need. My brother-in-law, LaDon, shared an interesting statistic with me once about scripture reading. He said that before President Hinckley's challenge to the Church to read the Book of Mormon, only 30% of members of the Church were having daily scripture study. During the challenge it increased to up to 70%. However, once the time of the challenge was completed we returned back to 30%. Well, that's easy, just tell President Monson to challenge us again, right? Well, let's remember Doctrine and Covenants 58:26= "For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant." Also remembering that we already have been commanded to "meditate therein day and night" (Josh. 1:8), and to "search the scriptures" (John 5:39), and to "feast upon the words of Christ" (2 Nephi 32:3), and to "search these commandments" (D&C 1:37). That's one from each of the 4 standard works. Then we have the rebuking and condemnation that came in section 84, which was also reiterated by President Benson (meaning that we were still under that condemnation).
So, we've been commanded. Maybe we just need more convincing. So, here are six reasons, from the scriptures, on why we need the scriptures.
1. Psalms 19:7= "The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul." CONVERSION
2. 2 Nephi 3:15= "For the thing [scriptures], which the Lord shall bring forth by his [Joseph's] hand, by the power of the Lord shall bring my people unto salvation." SALVATION
3. Romans 5:14= "For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written of our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope." LEARNING
4. 2 Timothy 3:16= "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." DOCTRINE
5. 1 Nephi 1:12= "And it came to pass that as he read, he was filled with the Spirit of the Lord." THE SPIRIT
6. Helaman 37:44-45= "The word of Christ...will point to you a straight course to eternal bliss." DIRECTION

I know that I can do better at studying my scriptures and I hope that I will. I am grateful for them and how much they have helped me and know that they will continue to do so. Now, I'm sure most of my audience is not struggling with this aspect in their lives, but I am sure that we all know someone who could use a boost. Let's encourage others to partake in the "marvelous blessing" that is scripture study.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

"This lesson must be shared"

What would you run towards? My favorite is when I come home from work and I hear "Daddy!" and see my 2-year old daughter with outstretched arms running up for a hug. I'd run for a loose ball, or a breakaway lay-up on the court. I'd run to see my wife. I'd run to get in line for Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters at Disneyland. I'd even run for the last piece of chocolate cream pie. Would you run to this fight?

Look at 1 Samuel 17:48, "And it came to pass, when the Philistine arose, and came and drew nigh to meet David, that David hasted, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine."

How could David, who was "but a youth" run to meet Goliath who was "a man of war from his youth," a "champion," not to mention over 9 feet tall and carrying over 150lbs of armor and a spear with a head weighing fifteen pounds???!?!? David ran, because he was prepared.

Have you seen Hoodwinked? If not, you need to. It's hilarious. If you're close by come borrow it. It's great, although some would question its existence, it really is pretty funny. Meet one of my favorite characters:

A goat that can only sing. He sings a song about being prepared. He says, "This lesson must be shared, to be prepared....And unless you got a spare, you only got one life so handle it with care." Whilst singing this melodic and very catchy tune he demonstrates his preparedness with his different horns: "Horns that hold my keys, I got horns that when I turn 'em right, they help me watch t.v." The point is, he got thrown from a mine cart and would have fallen to his death. However, we see the goat flying through the air with helicopter horns and hear him saying (singing?), "I was prepared." His preparation saved his life.

What then was David's preparation?? It wasn't horns. But stones. Stones that he trusted. David, although young and small compared to his opponent was confident that "The Lord that delivered [him] out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear...[would] deliver [him] out of the hand of this Philistine." He refused Saul's armor and sword, and chose instead a proven method, a sling and stones. He carefully chose five smooth stones from the river. Good thing too, what if the first had missed. He was prepared. But it was more than just bringing back-up stones, it was the fact that David knew and understood who the Stone was; who the Rock of his salvation was. Verse 47 "the battle is the Lord's, and he will give you into our hands." David knew Christ would fight for him. He knew that Christ had already won the battle. John 16:33 reads, "These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."

David ran, because he had the Stone at his side. I know that if we have Christ at our sides that we can run with confidence towards whatever Goliaths we might face. I know that Jesus truly performed an atonement through which we can be saved and delivered from all our enemies.

Friday, February 8, 2008

I love . . .

Ice cream...

Onion rings...

Harry Potter quidditch goggles...

Disneyland, Disney World, and Disneyland Paris...



Fun friends...

A good schnike...

(No comment necessary)

Fun seminary activities...

Watching movies...

Remembering our first home...

The temple...

My beautiful eternal family...

Knowing the Gospel is real!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A Breakthrough!

Today was a good day...
God answers prayers. Yet there are some that still don't believe, some who don't pray because, they claim to not have had prayers answered. Hannah teaches us how to make prayer effective. 1 Samuel chapter one introduces us to Hannah--an Israelite woman who is unable to have children. She shares her husband Elkanah with another woman--Peninnah, who can have children. She is grieved much because of this and the way she is treated by Peninnah. She turns to prayer. She vows a vow with the Lord that if He will bless her with a child then she will dedicate that son to God. She poured out her soul in prayer. She didn't just pick up the phone and ask for "a large pepporoni, hold the anchioves and it better be here in 20 minutes" type of prayer. Hannah continued praying after her request. And she was true to her word--when a son came she "lent him to the Lord."

Can we make deals with God? It seems like Hannah did, and it worked. I went up to a pair studying these verses in class today to pose this question to them. A big, burly football player that let me know on the first day that he "won't be coming much" and needed to find "someone to goof off with," leaned over, and said, "Yeah!" I quickly refocused. "What do you mean?" "Well, once I made a deal with God," he said. He then briefly recounted the event and I asked him if he'd share it with the class. He said he would. We wrapped up the activity and started discussing this point as a whole class. I explained that Hannah was able to make a "deal" because this was a commandment that God had given, to multiply and replenish the Earth. I then asked this student to share his experience. He spoke, trying to be bold although it was hard for him to say, "I used to chew." He paused, then explained how everywhere he went he was "chewing." Then, he found out that he had cancer. He was scared. "I didn't want to lose my jaw, so I prayed. I was crying and I prayed that if God would take my cancer away, then I would quit chewing forever...It's been five months now, and the cancer is all gone, and I'm never chewing again."

God does answer our prayers, I hope we take time to notice the little things he does, and the miracles that happen all around us.

After class as students were walking out and shaking my hand, a young woman who generally comes in late, talks to other students frequently and hasn't seem largely interested in seminary said, "That was great lesson!" Today was a good day....for more than just Bro. Carter.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Hard Things!

I've been facing some hard things these last two weeks. The adjustment back to high school was not as easy as I had hoped. I really just didn't prepare myself for it. Between my first two semesters of student teaching I had an entire summer to get geared up for new classes and a new semester and new students! This time around I had a week and a half. And a week of that I was still teaching my old class. So, that really blind-sided me. And I'm sad to admit it, but I didn't get off to a great start. For me it's been hard! But, I'm not complaining (maybe whining a little here and there). We all have to face hard things.
I asked class today before we got into Ruth to anonymously write on an index card the hardest thing they've been through. The results were shocking. Ranging from personal injuries, to family member's drug addictions, self addictions, feeling alone and worthless, to wanting to commit suicide. These youth, most of which are from 15-18 years old have already experienced some hard things. What do we do when things get so hard? Naomi's reaction to her trials can help us. In chapter one of Ruth we learn that Naomi and her family have to leave their home of Bethlehem because of a famine. They go to Moab where her two sons marry Moabite women; Orpah and Ruth. Then Naomi's husband dies, and then, both of her sons die, leaving a mother-in-law and two daughters-in-law all husbandless. Naomi has heard that the famine has ended in Bethlehem and decides to go back home. So, what's the message for us? Where do we go, what do we do when we're experiencing hard things? The answer is Bethlehem. The word Bethlehem means "The house of bread." In John 6:35 we learn that Christ is the bread of life. So, when you experience hard things, where do you go?
In class we made a good list of student responses. Christ is at the center of nearly all of them: the House of Bread could mean the temple, church, prayer, the scriptures, family, etc. When life is hard, we need to go to Christ.

John 14:18--I will not leave you comfortless, I will come to you.

Sunday, January 6, 2008


What is the power of testimony? Friday brought another round of Open Sharing to our little seminary class at Spanish Fork Jr High. The Spirit was strong of testimony, but also of class unity as the semester is nearing its completion. One student shared on Christ and His suffering, and how it really was for each of us. My mind was turned to a scripture in the 45th section of the Doctrine and Covenants. I marked it and thought of how I could use it in the lesson that day in Joshua. I was excited for it, as I knew the Spirit had led me there. I stood up to end open sharing and begin the lesson, but as I did a young woman in the front row with dark brown hair stood up. She started out sharing about hard times that her family has had and how she had been having a really hard time. She then talked of how she, or anyone in her family, had never talked about the death of her cousin. She said that since his death she hadn't really felt that the Church was true. Then the other night she finally talked to her mom about it and her mom said, "Promise me, that you will pray about the Church." Well, she did. She then explained, "I woke up the next morning and was just filled with the Spirit. And I know. I know that the Church is true."
I am certainly glad that I didn't stand up quicker or before she did. I'm also glad that she had the courage to share, because after that, a young man got up and all he could say about how he felt was "Whoa!"

We didn't have a ton of time for the lesson, but we talked about the power of testimony from the example of Rahab from Joshua 2. She had heard of the children of Israel and said to two Israelite spies who had come in to Jericho to scout it out, "I know that the Lord hath given you the land...the Lord your God, he is the God in heaven above, and in earth beneath."

Because of this testimony--what she knew--she took in the spies and protected them. Because of that the spies told her to put a red thread in her window so that her and her family would not be destroyed. When Joshua and the children of Israel come and, according to the Lord's direction, cause the walls of Jericho to fall and "utterly destroy all that was in the city", we learn more about Rahab. Joshua 6:25 reads, "And Joshua saved Rahab..."

Do our testimonies have the power to save us? Even if they are small and simple, can they bring out a result as was seen with Rahab?

The verses from Doctrine & Covenants 45 read,

"Listen to him who is the advocate with the Father, who is pleading your cause before him--Saying: Father, behold the sufferings and death of him who did no sin, whom thou wast well pleased; behold the blood of thy Son which was shed, the blood of him whom thou gavest that thyself might be glorified;

Wherefore, Father, spare these my brethren that believe on my name, that they may come unto me and have everlasting life...and even unto them that believed on my name gave I power to obtain eternal life." (verses 3-5, 8; empahsis added)

Class was ending and I asked if anyone had learned anything in class today. One student raised her hand and said, "I was reading my scriptures last night and kept seeing the phrase 'Believe in Christ' and was wondering what it meant. Now I know what it means."

I know that our testimonies are powerful, that they can help us overcome whatever we may encounter, and I testify that if we do according to what we know and use our testimonies that they will have the power to save us. Again I ask, what is the power of testimony?