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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints  (Photo credit: More Good Foundation)

I read a fun little poem recently on another blog with a post called “Is the Church a Zoo” that spoke of the different types of people observed in church and how they shared traits with a variety of animals.  Different animal behaviors were exhibited by the same people over different activities.  It’s a fun poem, and a philosophical puzzle.  There were many reactions to it which agreed with the sentiment, and some even pointed out that some of those behaviors were why they no longer went to church.  There were a few commenters who stated that they observed their faith by staying home and studying and praying on their own.  This item was what gave me pause and a reason to write here again.

I cannot fault those who feel that the weaknesses of others is a good reason to not participate in church.  I have done this myself.  Having said that, I will also say, that I repent me of having done that.  Not being involved doesn’t make the others More involved.  It just deprives the body of the church of yet another person who Could have been helpful, but chose Not to be.  What is an organized church for, after all, if not to make it easier to become aware of the needs of others, and for them to become aware of our needs.  How else can we follow in the footsteps of Christ if we won’t look for and actively engage ourselves in ministering to the needs of others.  This is Not solely the job of the pastor, but of All who profess willingness to follow in His footsteps.

We are all human, however, and as such, subject to these frequent failings.  Making the mistake of thinking that removing yourself from the body will somehow send a message that the body is sick and needs healing is simply adding insult to injury.  This observation does not make me more righteous than anyone else.  It just means that I have learned my lesson on this particular point.   There are many other points I have yet to work on.  Some of them, I have at least become aware of, so I have hope that I may yet improve on them.

One of the failings that I have become aware of is that of complacency, or laziness, whichever term you prefer.  I like the little rut I’m in and don’t like getting out of it.  This leaves some of the things I Should be doing sort of hanging…..  I have to Actively move myself into a state of activity outside of my own personal zone of comfort.  My complacent state of being finds this annoying.  My Spirit tells me that I Must do more.  So I will do more (sigh).   When I get to the point that I no longer think of this as annoying, but look forward to doing more for others, that is when I will have made some serious improvement in my effort to follow Christ.

I find that what I think of as More and what I actually do as more are somewhat different things, but there is hope yet, that I will live up to my own expectations of myself.  At least, if I move a little further out of my comfort zone, perhaps I will actually be able to benefit someone other than myself, and Maybe, just maybe, pay back some of what others (who have succeeded in moving out of Their comfort zones) have done for me  (At least those who are here in this world with me).  On the other hand, I know that I will Never be able to repay Christ for what He has done for me.  And He’s OK with that.  He only requires that I do the best that is in me by being as actively engaged as I can manage.  That’s all He requires of anyone.  Even you.

 

© Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises, llc 2012.

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Bishops' Storehouses

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There have been people who complained that the reason they became non-religious, was because the people in the churches were so imperfect.  I too have seen the imperfections of humanity, and once upon a time, I too withdrew my support from official religions because I was incensed that the people weren’t more perfect.

I could have continued in this path of indifference, being perfectly right in my position of “the people aren’t perfect enough”, and it would have gotten me exactly nowhere. Nor would it have changed anything within the church except to leave it one body shorter of those who Could have been doing something to assist each other.

God saw fit to withdraw His support from me during this time (turn about is fair play).  I was allowed to suffer the full effect of the buffetings of the world.  Without His protection to keep me from harm, without His spirit to guide me in my choices, without His angels to watch over and protect me in my efforts, I became just another casualty of a dog-eat-dog world.  I met the man who would become my husband during this time.  Things went well for a while, but then, I changed jobs, and some issues which hadn’t been issues until then, suddenly became issues.

Once brought down low, and in need of assistance (no work,no money to pay bills, no food) my husband suggested that we turn to the local food banks at the local Christian churches.  When he said this, I looked at Him, and with a sinking heart I said, “If we are going to do that, we might as well go to the one that does it the best.”  He asked me what I meant by that, and I told him about The Church welfare department.

So we went to church together, and he met the congregation of people that I had left some five years before.  It was only a little changed since I had been there.  Some people had moved out, and others had moved in, but it was largely the same human family. We asked the Bishop for some food assistance.  He said gladly, but also, the ward could help us with some other bills as well, like utilities.   We were overjoyed at this blessing.  Thank you.

Even though I had told my husband about the welfare program of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, he was still surprised at the extent of it.  He held up a can of Chicken noodle soup and exclaimed, “They have their own canning factory?”

Actually, the members do that themselves with volunteer labor.  I have been part of groups that volunteered time in both canning chicken noodle soup, and wrapping cheese for shipping before.  It is a balance between a very efficient human chain, and a mechanical process.  It is very well managed.  The whole process is very efficient.

There are many Bishop’s storehouses scattered all over; tucked away in small industrial neighborhoods mostly. They are centers for charitable giving, both temporal and spiritual.

I am grateful beyond belief for this eye-opening experience; to have finally understood my place in the chain of service; to have been able to see, finally, that I was just as imperfect as the ones I was pointing fingers at; to understand that our imperfections are the very reason for Christ’s atonement; and the reason that we all finally stand before God with fear and trembling to work out our eternal salvation; and to know, without a shadow of a doubt that God loves even me, imperfect as I am, and that His love is so all encompassing that He will show me the error of my ways, if I am but willing to look, and set my feet back on the path to home.

© Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Moses with the tablets of the Ten Commandments...

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Moses with the Ten Commandments

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This post a direct result of reading Two other blogger’s posts.  Both of them had something to say that I wanted to respond to, and did in comments, but I would like to expand on those comments here.  Rob Slavens Post was an agnostic’s view of  the Ten commandments , and the other one, was from a link in the post below that, about On Tebow, written by Grant Dawson in Remotely Nowhere.

Rob Slaven was complaining that the Ten Commandments seemed sort of Vain and common sense if not trivial, with the exception of one or two pretty decent ones.  He’s right, if you think of the Ten Commandments as the end all and be all of what God wants and expects of us; however, remember that the Ten Commandments were the Second set of plates that came down the mountain.

The children of Israel were partying pretty hard by the time Moses came down the first time. That  first set, the one that got all smashed up, were the higher law, that Moses and God decided the then current crop of children of Israel weren’t ready for yet, and so they were given the kindergarten version.  The lower law.

The first half of the Lower law lays out things you Should do.  The be good stuff.  The Second half of the Ten Commandments lays out all the Shouldn’ts.  Basically, if you can’t handle doing the good things, then for Heaven’s sake, and your soul’s sake, don’t do these other, bad things.

The Higher law is available, but people still have a hard time with the lower law, so….    Well, if you’re the sort who can handle the lower law, then maybe you’re ready for the higher one.

Remember in Matthew, chapter 22, verses 36 – 40, the pharisees asking Christ what was the Greatest law? And Christ responded, “To Love God with all your heart might, mind, and strength, and the second was like unto it; To love thy neighbor as thyself.  On these hang all the law and the prophets.”

Somewhere in there is the key to the higher law.  If we can do these things successfully…… everything else is covered.

 

© Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Let Me Help You

The Nature of Repentance

Ford Motor Company facts about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

merry christmas every one

Bearing Witness To a Truth

Mormon Cult – It Ain’t Necessarily So

Mourning Dove

Image by mizmak via Flickr

When in doubt, I close my eyes, hold my breath;

I open them again, and count to twenty.

Breathing in, breathing out, leaves death to death;

Refocus my heart on seeing plenty.

 

The things I’ve seen are all recorded;

engraved upon my heart forever.

If someday diligence is rewarded,

Pain and suffering will visit, never.

 

While I’m waiting here, there will be others

Who’ll use another to make life easier.

There’s no single day that comes to mothers

where someone’s life is not made queasier.

 

she was looking around in the vegetable market...

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For those in bondage, there is sympathy;

Mourning tears for the dearest departed.

Those gone before would not begrudge me,

I hold up my head, not broken-hearted.

 

;Name :Pelargonium quercifolium 'Fair Ellen' ;...

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In setting aside the pain and suffering,

We make time to honor what remains;

Not forgetting time for sorrowing,

There’s still time enough to live, and love again.

 

© Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Happy Christmas, painted by Johansen Viggo

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I wish to share a thought for those who are alone on this day.  Although you may not have company in a physical form, that spirit which was sent by him who’s day we are celebrating today is with you if you listen.  The Holy Ghost was sent to all as a witness and a comfort in all times, and in all places.

No matter your status, your location, or your health, he is with you. You have only to reach out with your heart and mind, and be willing to listen with your spirit in order to hear him.

You will know when you have heard him, as he always speaks peace to your soul.

With all sincerity, I wish you a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year.

© Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Pain comes from disappointment.

We expected more from ourselves.

Our expectations are our enemies.

Anger comes from fear.

We fear what we do not understand the end of.

Fear is the opposite of faith.

Despair comes from giving up on yourself.

You are afraid you don’t have the right stuff.

God believes you are always worth hoping for.

If God believes it, why don’t you?

He is smarter than you.

He already knew you before you were here.

He knew there would be difficulties.

That’s why he agreed to pay the price for you ahead of time.

After everything you can do, he will do the rest.

Do everything you can.

Do what you must.

Trust him.

He will bring you home.

He is not disappointed.

He already knew what would happen.

He only wants you to let him help you.

© Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

I was angry.

Now I am not.

I was afraid.

Now I am not.

I felt despair.

Now I have hope.

There is no rational explanation for what I feel.

It just is.

Because it is what it is.

That is the nature of the challenge.

If there were no difficulties,

How would there be a test?

If there were no test,

Why bother with this type of existence?

God could make us all run on automatic with only a little tweaking.

But he doesn’t,

Because he wants the test to show us what we are, and can do, and can’t do.

Then we will be satisfied

that where we are placed is the right place for us.

We will all be happy.

Everyone will be happy.

I will be happy.

So I may as well start being happy now.

 

© Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Dear Ford Motors,
Thank you for your candor in reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  It isn’t often I see the decency that you have displayed in your summation of this faith.  You have given me another reason to shop Ford in the future.  If I were a betting person, I’d buy Ford stock about now 🙂  What the heck, it’s a sucker bet.  Buying Ford stock after the publication of this article isn’t a gamble at all.  You’re gonna get some Great business in the coming years from members of this faith.

I wrote this as a comment on another blog published by Alan Osmond (Alan, I hope you don’t mind my re-posting it here – it’s going to show up twice in my Facebook page now, as that is where I saw it first) who posted the following article:

Following is an interesting article written by Ford Motor Company for its employees. It was presented by the ‘Ford Interfaith’ group as a message about the LDS Church .

The Ford Interfaith group promotes unity by sharing information about all faiths and features these types of articles about various religions and faiths.

QUICK FACTS & INTERESTING TIDBITS about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Fleeing continued mob attacks 158 years ago, the first Mormon
pioneers desperately started their Westward trek from Illinois in the dead of winter. Of the 70,000 who began this 1300-mile journey, 6,000 were buried along the way, including many children. The following are quick facts and interesting tidbits about this now flourishing church.

OVERVIEW

* Named “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints”; informal
nicknames are “LDS” or “Mormon” -named after the prophet-historian

* Believes it is the Lord’s restoration of original Christianity as
foretold to occur before Christ’s Second Coming.

* Core focus is that Christ and His teachings bring happiness in this
life and exaltation in the next.

HISTORY

* In 1820 14-yr-old Joseph Smith told of a vision of God and Christ
foretelling a church restoration.

* Organized in New York in 1830, the church moved to near Cleveland, then near Kansas City, then Illinois .

* Fleeing Illinois , Mormon pioneers founded Salt Lake City in Utah and over 600 other Western communities.

SALT LAKE CITY

* Temple Square in Salt Lake has over 5 million annual visitors, more
than the Grand Canyon .

* The Mormon Tabernacle Choir is the world’s most famous choir and has the world’s oldest radio program.

* The Salt Lake Temple is the most famous, but there are 128 other
temples built here and around the world while
others are under construction.

* Home of the world’s largest genealogy database; visit it online or
through 3,700 free branch libraries.

ACTIVE CONGREGATIONS

* Sunday services entail a three-hour block of three meetings; about
27,000 congregations exist worldwide.

* Highly vibrant programs exist for youth, children, singles, men, and women; very strong family focus.

* Everyone has a calling; some surveys show LDS have the highest U.S. attendance and service rates.

* Families receive personal fellowship visits at home from other members on a monthly basis.

FINANCES

* Members tithe 10 percent, plus donate generously to the needy the first Sunday of each month.

* Clergy and all other congregational positions are unpaid (however, much of the janitorial is paid).

* The church has no debt; all buildings are paid for in cash (average of two new congregations a day).

* The paid positions in Salt Lake are famously low-salaried; funds are frugally used and tightly audited.

HEALTH CODE

* With a health code from 1833, LDS avoid alcohol, tobacco, illegal
drugs, coffee, and tea (herbal tea is ok).

* This 1833 code also teaches grains (especially wheat), fresh fruits and vegetables, and sparing use of meat.

* A UCLA study showed that active LDS live longer than most Americans, men by 11 years, women by 8.

* Utah is 50th in smoking, alcohol consumption, drunk driving, heart disease, cancer, and sick days.

EDUCATION

* With four colleges, Utah ‘s BYU with 30,000 students is the largest
single-campus private college.

* BYU Independent Study with 130,000 students is North America (340 web courses, 530 via mail).

* Seminary, a daily class usually held around 6:00 A.M., serves 376,000 high school students.

* There are Institutes of Religion at 1,950 colleges worldwide that serve 367,000 college students.

* The church operates schools in parts of the Pacific Ocean and Mexico for 10,000 students.

* Utah is 50th in spending per pupil, but first in adults that graduated from high school and attended college.

WOMEN

* In 1842 the “Relief Society” was organized; it’s the largest women’s
organization in the world.

* Wyoming was first to allow women to vote; Utah was second, two months later, in 1870.

* Women preach from the pulpit and serve as organization presidents, teachers, committee chairs, etc.

SHARING CHRIST’S GOOD NEWS

* 61,000 missionaries serve in 165 countries; 93 percent are college-age; 22 percent are female.

* Unpaid and paying their own way, most work 65 hours a week for two years, often in a new language.

MEMBERSHIP DISTRIBUTION

* LDS are 70 percent of Utah, 30 percent of Idaho; after Catholics, LDS are the largest sect in 10 states.

* The church has 5.5 million members in the U.S., making it the fourth largest individual U.S. denomination.

* Some memberships: New Zealand 95k, Japan 115k, UK 175k, Philippines 500k, Brazil 900k, Mexico 925k.

* Worldwide 51 percent are female; about 55 percent are not Caucasian; about 70 percent are converts.

MEMBERSHIP GROWTH

* For the last 15 years, every day an average of 800+ people worldwide joined the LDS church.

* Half of the growth is in Latin America, but the rate of growth is
highest in Africa and the former Soviet bloc.

* Worldwide membership just passed 12 million, a tenfold increase in 50 years.

* In 1984 a non-LDS professor estimated 265 million members by 2080; so far growth has been faster.

* As this growth has been steady, it will be the next major world religion since Islam.”

CHARITY/SERVICE

* Members in need obtain welfare from the LDS Church (thus Utah
government welfare spending is very low).

* LDS donate time at 220 welfare storehouses or canneries and about 400 farms.

* There are 210 employment centers placing over 175,000 people annually, and 64 family service centers.

* The church operates 46 thrift stores, in part to provide employment for the disadvantaged.

* The 61,000 missionaries spend half a day each week doing

HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE

* Over 200 million pounds of food, clothing, and medicine were donated in the last 20 years in 147 countries.

* Almost all of this help is to non-LDS; LDS charities also work with and donate to many non-LDS charities.

* Very rapid disaster relief has been given in 144 major disasters since 1986.

* Almost 3,000 welfare “missionaries” work without pay in 55 countries (farm instructors, doctors, teachers, etc…).

* LDS charities fund a wide variety of projects like drilling water wells or funding small business startup loans.

* New in 2001, members in poor areas can get low-rate college loans;
10,000 loans have been made to date.

GRAB BAG

* Utah is first in: charitable giving, producing scientists, household computers, children with two parents, and birth rate.

* Noted LDS included five senators, and other famous dignitaries
(click on link)
the Osmonds, Gladys Knight, Steve
Young, and the inventor of TV -Philo T. Farnsworth.

* LDS played a key role in the 2002 Winter Olympics; the chair was the former governor of Massachusetts .

* Hawaii ‘s #1 tourist site is the LDS Polynesian Cultural Center ( Tonga and the Samoas are one-third LDS).

* LDS have sponsored Boy Scout troops since 1913; 23 percent of all Scout troops are LDS.

* The BYU Women’s Cross Country were national champions or in second place each of the last seven years.

DETROIT AREA

* The Detroit metro area has 30 congregations; the Dearborn chapel is on Rotunda by Ford’s Building #5.

* Detroit has a temple, storehouse, cannery, employment and family
service office, and family history libraries.

* LDS include former Governor Romney, three former Lions quarterbacks,
and hundreds of Ford employees.

A member of Ford’s Interfaith Network,
the author of this note sends out monthly interfaith notes to thousands of Ford employees who have asked to receive them.

Why?

She asks.

Do you care?

What’s it to you?

Cautious, she hesitates.

You aren’t the one.

Who sees me?

Not you.

Her.

Woman.

Stands alone.

Having been one.

Her present is more.

Her future less.

She is now.

Content.

Once,

There was

Another

Who cared for me

When no one else did.

He is enough.

God is good.

Only

Him.

 

© Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

I know you’ve all heard of repentance.  How it’s what you are supposed to do when you’ve done something wrong.  So OK. You do something and you are told it’s wrong.  You are supposed to repent.  Then you are told that to repent means that you are sorry you did what you did, and you promise you won’t do it again.  If you do it again anyway, that means that you haven’t really repented.

I would like to clarify something here.

What that really means is that you haven’t really understood that God loves you and doesn’t want you to hurt yourself.  That what you did was hurtful to you and to others, and He especially doesn’t want you to hurt others because it’s much harder to fix things that hurt others.

You haven’t figured out that when Christ suffered for your sins, and paid the price for you, it was because  He Loves you, and wants you to be able to go into the next existence without dragging a chain of suffering with you.  He wanted you to be able to start clean from the point where you understand the right things to do.  That you really are important enough to him to bother about. That he really does care about you individually, personally, and privately. And that when your life runs into a course correction, when the re-set button gets hit, that it might even be God telling you to re-think what you’ve been doing, and where your priorities are.

He’s not doing that because he hates you.  Like a good parent that swats their child when it repeatedly tries to run out into traffic, God is trying to help you survive better. He is trying to help you grow up.  If you continue to resist his efforts, if you hurt yourself, he still loves you. If you hurt others, he still loves you, but it’s harder to fix things when you hurt others.  Some things aren’t fixable, then you’ve really hurt yourself.  That is going to cost you a load of hurt, but it’s hurt you brought on yourself.  God didn’t visit that hurt on you. And he can’t save you from it.  He can only save you from things that are fixable, and only if you are willing to recognize the hurt you’ve done.  If you can’t face it, you can’t fix it, and you can’t grow.

I was trying to explain real repentance to my teen-age  daughter.   It came down to a math problem as an allegory.

In geometry or algebra or calculus, there are some fixed formulas for short cuts to do things that work for certain things every time.

Before you are taught the shortcuts, you usually have to work through the proofs, so you can see why the formulas work every time.

You could be taught just the shortcuts and then trust that they will work when you apply them in the correct situation every time.  After you do the formula, you can see the result, and will know that it works.  Sometimes you see others apply the formula, and understand at that point that it works.  Sometimes you think that it only works for them, and not for you.

Sometimes we forget the formula.  Sometimes we think the formula doesn’t apply in the situation we are in. If we don’t use the formula, then we have to work through the proof to get to the right answer.  Hopefully, we at least remember all the rules for completing the steps through the proof.  Sometimes, we don’t remember all the rules, and we keep repeating the steps going through the proof trying to get the right answer.

When we are doing a math problem, if someone comes along and shows us the area where we did the step wrong, do we throw out their advice and keep doing the step wrong?

No.  We look at it and say, “Oh.”  That’s what I did wrong.”  Thank you for showing me that.” and then we complete the step correctly.  We wouldn’t do the step over the wrong way again, once we actually understand how it’s supposed to be done.  We might need some correction on a further step, but we will get that one right after that, because we now know how it’s supposed to work.

(I will qualify this with, in the event that we aren’t dyslexic and can’t actually see the steps correctly the way they are laid out.)

The big book with scriptures in it is full of formulas.  Shortcuts for living that work every time.  Following those formulas is not a guarantee that your life will be easy, because your life is impacted by others who may not be following the formulas themselves, but it is a way to recover faster, even when that happens.  At least you won’t be hurting yourself, and you won’t be hurting others, if you are following the formulas in the book.

If you have forgotten the formula, or haven’t been taught the formula, or think that the formula doesn’t apply to you, then you will end up working through the proof whether you like it or not.  Hopefully, you will get the rules right, and won’t have too much difficulty getting the right answer, but sometimes, we miss a step, or turn a step around, or do something backwards, and we get the wrong answer.  So then we have to do the problem over again.  That’s when you see people repeating what seems like the same mistake over again.  They are working back through the proof.

Sometimes God is trying to show you what you did wrong, but if you aren’t paying attention, or think that God doesn’t care about you or you aren’t important enough for God to pay attention to you, then you just put your head down and ignore what He is trying to tell you.  Like a stubborn, prideful child, you keep on making the same mistake over again.

When you understand that God Does Love you, that you Are important enough for Him to pay attention to, and that He Wants you to learn so you can fix your mistake:  then you’ll start listening.

Once you are listening, he will show you your mistake.  Don’t be afraid of seeing your mistake.  If you can’t see it, you can’t fix it.  He wants you to be able to fix it.  He will only be sadder if you refuse to see your mistake.  You won’t be able to grow if you can’t fix it.

Doing wrong things here is defined as doing or saying things that harm you or others around you:  and further,  having a mindset that ignores saying or doing things that are beneficial to you and/or to others.

God won’t force you not to hurt yourself, and he won’t force you not to hurt others.  This the nature of the test.  You have to learn how to do things correctly for yourself, and you won’t learn if you don’t choose to do so of your own free will.

Once you are able to see your mistake, you are sad, because you finally understand the affect that you had, but you are also happy, because finally, you can fix it,  and do the step correctly.  Now you are in a position to rejoice with the angels, and when you fix your mistake, the angels do rejoice with you.

Now you won’t do it wrong again, because you finally understand what it was that you did wrong.  It won’t be a matter of having to Promise that you won’t do it again. You won’t Want to do it the wrong way again.  And That is the True Nature of Repentance.

When you truly understand what the wrong was, and you no longer Desire to do it the wrong way again.  That is true repentance.

It isn’t rote learning. It isn’t an intellectual understanding.  It is a Spiritual understanding. You will Know the right way to do it, and Why it’s the right way to do it.

This applies to every item of understanding.  You Can follow the formulas out of Faith, and learn on the other end of having done it that it is true: but if you don’t, you will work through the proofs, and learn to understand one line of the formula at a time. Sometimes, we mix things up, and do some formulas, and some proofs.  Every one has their own speed of learning.

 

© Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Is a blog an appropriate place to express ones religious beliefs?  If not here, than where would be more appropriate?

I’ll not burden my reader with any expectations of agreement.  I’m not so insecure that I need your affirmation of my beliefs to shore them up.  I believe because I feel it in my heart, because I have seen His hand at work in my life, not always pleasantly.
I tell you these things that you may know where I stand.; where my faith is, where my heart is, and in what direction my efforts lie.  I struggle here with the inexactness of my ability to communicate to you what I believe.  Or of the inability to convey the scope of this belief.  Or the utterly inconceivable scale of what  I believe God is.

I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  I am not a member simply because my parents were.  I have had more than enough time and experience, both in and out of The Church, to have opportunity to question and explore on my own.  My experiences with faith, and doubt, and re-newed faith are my own.  My questions were my own, but the answers I finally learned to accept were always there.  God loves me, and is aware of me, and cares about what happens to me.  He cares enough to chastise me, betimes sharply when it’s needed, but like the loving God He is,  shows forth more love again after, lest I esteem him my enemy.

God doesn’t just love me, He loves all his children alike, but not all his children are listening, or recognizing His hand in their lives.  Some, like I did, believe they are not worth enough for an all wise God to take notice of them.  They don’t give Him enough credit for His abilities, His love, or His reach.  Because the concept of a God so powerful bothering to take notice of any of us, who are so Not good, or powerful, or pure, or  whatever, is so foreign to our understanding, we fail to give Him credit, and we turn away from what He has to offer us.

He loves and has loved all His children throughout history, so much so that he has visited all of them, throughout all the isles of the seas; and left with each peoples instructions on how they should live with  and treat each other.  As he stated to His apostles in Jerusalem , John 10:16 And other sheep I have, not of this fold: Them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice, and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.  One of these accounts of his instructions is contained within the Book of Mormon which is an excerpt of a history of a people spanning a thousand years and more.

I can’t convey to you properly how well this book explains the Divinity of Jesus Christ.  Nor how clearly it explains gospel truths.  I can tell you that I find in it’s pages such a profound oneness with the Bible, that I cannot even imaging one without the other.  They are a complimentary set.  Beautiful truths contained within each one, and tragedies recounted in each, all proclaiming the sameness of God, and His certain  and unchangeable promises.

What I believe is that God and His Divine son,  Jesus Christ, have worked out a plan so complete, so intricately woven through our lives, so all encompassing, that we could not begin to fathom it all; but every once in a while, a few of the details concerning our own place in it are revealed to us, if we ask in faith.  Just enough for us to know we matter to Him, insignificant though we may seem to ourselves. and yet he notices us.  This knowledge is breathtakingly humbling.  Such joy as can be had among people will be had when it is understood how much He loves us.  We have only to turn to Him, to`a ask in faith, believing that He will answer, and listen with all our heart.  When we are willing to follow his example,; When we understand that willing and happy service to our fellow men and women is the only way to follow in his footsteps, when we fianlly understand that working for the welfare of others Is working for ourselves, and we do it because we love them, and want their joy and happiness as much as we want our own, this then is the way, the truth and the light that Christ taught.  To love God with all our heart, might, mind, and soul, and to love our neighbors as ourselves.

Mine is not the only testimony of the truth of this gospel.  There are Other testimonies from many places, and many voices, all understanding that the Book Of Mormon is a second witness to the divinity of Jesus Christ, and a clear set of instructions to assist in filling in the gaps of knowledge not contained any more within the pages of the Bible.  A book such as this could only have been preserved and brought forth again through the gift and power of an unchanging God, and the raising up again of a Prophet in the latter days, like unto old times.  That there are doubters…. that is like unto old times too.  That there is confusion,  likewise.  Where truth lies there also lies Satan, that deciever, waiting to trip you up, so that you cannot tell the truth from the lie; therefore, you will be needing a personal revelation from God, to affirm the truth  of His holy word, wherever it is found.  Fear not that you are not worthy of His telling you of it.  His word is worthy enough.  His desire that the truth should be made known, that the accomplishments of His son should be accepted and proclaimed throughout the world.  This is enough reason alone for Him to reveal the truth of any of His works unto even such as yourself.  That you should know the truth of a thing, and the truth shall set you free.  Free to embrace the gospel in all it’s enlightened latter day sentiment.  Free to believe His son died for your sins, that if you are willing to follow Him, and take His name upon you, that you might havehis spirit to be with you in this life, and everlasting and eternal life with Him hereafter.

And now I sound like a fanatic, but it is not so. I am just another human like yourself.  I am not perfect, far from it.  I have need daily of repentance, fighting against my nature which is indeed an enemy to God.  I am entirely too likely to want to sit and be comfortable when I should be doing something else.  Too immersed in my everyday world to take note of things that need attending to. Too caught up in my own fantasy of what I want the world to be to make room for other view points.  Too idealistic to understand that what I consider an ideal may not be the best way to handle something.  Too human to understand that not all things come in a time and a place of my choosing, but rather that of God’s choosing, for He has understanding of all things that have an impact on our lives.

I have had enough time here in this world to finally see that what I think I understand is only shadows of what is, and what I think I know is only one facet of the whole.  As was mentioned in the New Testament by the Apostle Paul in 1st Corinthians 13:12  For now we see through a glass, darkly, but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

I will wait and trust in the Lord, that all things in the end will be revealed, and I will understand and know finally, what I do not understand and know now.

My brothers and sisters, for you are all my brothers and sisters, I tell you these things, my feelings, and my knowledge; such that it is, in all honesty, in the name of the only begotten of the Father, Jesus Christ, Amen.

© Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

I wrote this a few years ago… It’s still relevant today.
Dear Friends and Family,
I was just sent an email in a round about way from an old friend. There was apparently a discussion going on about God, country, and natural disasters. Many people have asked, “Why did God let this happen?”Some sources blame the result of the natural disaster on God’s getting out of the way because we as a country have backed away from praying in schools, acknowledging God in our institutions of learning, or requesting his help in our governing practices, whether on the home front, or in our places of governance.
Here’s a different thought ….. God gave most of us the ability to tell right from wrong, to understand the difference between a Good outcome and a bad one. In addition to that, we have several books full of guidance on what works well and what doesn’t, know matter which religious order you follow. With all that, I’m sure he or she or it (depending on your personal interpretation of what a higher power consists of) expects us to follow along doing the right thing by each other, and not just think about ourselves and the short term expediency.
Unfortunately, even though for several decades, we have known that the levees around New Orleans weren’t built well enough to withstand a major Hurricane, we have shrugged our collective shoulders and said, we’ll do it another time, gambling people’s lives that a major force hurricane wouldn’t happen before we got to it. This didn’t happen because God allowed it to happen….. It happened because WE allowed it to happen. The same thing could be said for any number of other massive destructors. We have the technology for early warning systems for things like Tsunamis, but not the political will to put them in place and give up some other comfort. In fact, it’s those other comforts (luxuries – not necessities) that stop us from doing a Lot of things we should be doing. How many people really NEED a nintendo or an Xbox. and yet, how many people Have them? How many people will put themselves in debt for a new item that is just coming out, but won’t spend the time or the effort to fix things that need fiixng around the house, their neighborhood, or in their local communities.
Until we start seeing the needs of others as As Important as the needs of ourselves, we will Not prosper as a nation, as a people, or really, as individuals. One way to start making a real difference in the world, is to look around and find a family or an individual in your area who is worse off than you and give them the help they need to make their lives more successful. In raising others, we raise ourselves. This is the essence of Godliness.

If everyone did this just once, we would be better off, but if everyone does this as a matter of course, sprinkled throughout their lives, there would be no poor, no needy, and no major force natural disaster would catch people by surprise.

If we were a more ideal people, we wouldn’t lie about each other, expect to be treated more specially than others, believe ourselves better, or treat others poorly. If we really Wanted to work together we could accomplish so much more than we have already, and even in an unstable natural environment, we could protect ourselves and other people better.
People would move out when a force of nature threatened, and would have somewhere to go, because other people would help them get out in a timely manner and take them in. A sudden Earthquake might collapse poorly built structures, but since we know how to build better ones, we would have done that already too. We’d be prepared for disasters. We wouldn’t build downstream from Dams. We wouldn’t maintain dams incorrectly, we wouldn’t cut corners on construction projects and we wouldn’t ignore the warnings given us by our local officials when it was time to move out to maintain our safety.
Too bad we aren’t that ideal of an people yet….. Maybe it’s about time we started working on that, from within each and everyone of us. May your Holiday be Happy because you did something to make someone else’s Holiday more successful.
Best Regards,
Ellen

© Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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