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    Resisting temptation – C.S. Lewis

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    “No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good. A silly idea is current that good people do not know what temptation means. This is an obvious lie. Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is. After all, you find out the strength of [an] army by fighting against it, not by giving in. You find out the strength of a wind by trying to walk against it, not by lying down. A man who gives in to temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later. That is why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness — they have lived a sheltered life by always giving in. We never find out the strength of the evil impulse inside us until we try to fight it: and Christ, because He was the only man who never yielded to temptation, is also the only man who knows to the full what temptation means — the only complete realist.” – C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

    Came across the quote from a guest post by Kurt Francom of LeadingLDS on This Week in Mormons: http://thisweekinmormons.com/2014/02/sin-make-stronger/

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    Leaven

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    The dominion of God’s people upon the earth seems to have been numerically small throughout most of history.

    I’ve often heard people question why that is. Of the billions that have lived, very little have had access to God’s commandments in their purity (as we understand them) and even His own people have gone through cycles of apostasy and rebellion. Shouldn’t the world be filled with billions of believers with cities and nations of Zion everywhere, or at least ONE Zion somewhere? Instead we see a history of war, violence, suffering, poverty, disease, tyranny and oppression with tiny pockets of enlightenment or restoration here and there.

    Is God inefficient or is something else going on? Keep Reading

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    Sharing the Gospel, a Sacrament Meeting Talk

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    Recently, I was asked to speak in sacrament meeting with my wife on the subject of loving others by sharing the gospel. I thought posting the talk here might be beneficial to someone out there. I attempted to make the point that sharing the gospel is not an end in itself, but a byproduct of personal conversion. So instead of trying to persuade people to share the gospel, I attempted to persuade them to find the love of God and their own redemption. Perhaps many could have done a much better job at this, but it was the best I could do and I know the Spirit of the Lord can do great things through weakness.


    “Share the Gospel” what does that mean? We say it a lot and perhaps it means different things to different people.

    First what is the Gospel? If someone came up to you and asked “What is the gospel?” How would you define it? Could you define it?

    Defining the Gospel

    Paul wrote:

    1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
    2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, …
    3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
    4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: 1 Cor 15:1-10

    Then Jesus proclaimed to the Nephites:

    “Behold I have given unto you my gospel, and this is the gospel which I have given unto you–that I came into the world to do the will of my Father, because my Father sent me. And my Father sent me that I might be lifted up upon the cross…” 3 Nephi 27:13-14

    The Lord again to his Saints:

    And this is the gospel, the glad tidings, which the voice out of the heavens bore record unto us–That he came into the world, even Jesus, to be crucified for the world, and to bear the sins of the world, …That through him all might be saved…” Doctrine and Covenants 76:40-42

    As a bonus, how about a fourth witness, you’ve probably heard this one from Joseph Smith:

    “The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the apostles and prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that he died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it.”

    Sometimes when we say “the gospel” we tend to just lump everything in there, but scripturally Keep Reading

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    Room For Doubt Respects Agency

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    I recently started the Book of Mormon over again in audio form while I’m at work. Chapter 6 of 1 Nephi caught my attention and led to some signifiant thoughts about agency.

    And it mattereth not to me that I am particular to give a full account of all the things of my father, for they cannot be written upon these plates, for I desire the room that I may write of the things of God.

    For the fulness of mine intent is that I may persuade men to come unto the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, and be saved.

    Wherefore, the things which are pleasing unto the world I do not write, but the things which are pleasing unto God and unto those who are not of the world.

    Wherefore, I shall give commandment unto my seed, that they shall not occupy these plates with things which are not of worth unto the children of men. (1 Nephi 6:3-6)

    The limited resources Nephi had forced him to focus on what was most important. He desired to record “the things of God” over things that were pleasing unto the world; think about that. What types of things would Keep Reading

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    “All that he seeth fit that they should have”

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    After crying out “O that I were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart, that I might go forth and speak with the trump of God, with a voice to shake the earth, and cry repentance unto every people!” Alma 29:1

    The well-intentioned Alma the younger wanted a sorrow-free world and thinks Keep Reading

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    “They think they are wise…”

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    “When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves…” 2 Nephi 9:28

    • Does knowledge equal wisdom?
    • When we think we have things figured out on our own, do we pray less or more and for what reasons?
    • What knowledge in this world is worth setting aside a relationship with the one who holds your life in his hands moment to moment?
    • Why would one put more trust in the learning of man versus the wisdom of the revelations of God?

    We live in a world where quick answers and quick results are demanded. If a website on a phone takes more than 5 seconds to load we groan with frustration. If traffic slows a little or one person slides in front of us, we are angry. We stare into microwaves waiting the excruciating 60 seconds for our food to cook. Not only do we want things fast, we want them cheaply, we want to obtain them with as little effort on our part as possible. Perhaps a “good deal” seems more valuable than a quality product.

    Endurance is overshadowed by convenience; it is cheaper to replace things than to fix them. Rather than reconcile, repair and renew, we discard, destroy and dissolve. How deeply have these cultural philosophies that we practice daily bleed into our spiritual life? Is is any wonder that so many people give up trying to communicate with God and make dramatic life decisions based on what they think or suppose they “know of themselves?”

    “Have ye inquired of the Lord?…We have not; for the Lord maketh no such thing known unto us.” 1 Nephi 15:8-9

    • What does it mean to “inquire” of the Lord?
    • What are the requirements for “inquiring of the Lord” and how are they different from how we inquire for information in temporal matters?
    • How well do we really know and understand the scriptural pattern for inquiring, asking, seeking and knocking?
    • Do the things of God come as cheaply as the things of this world?
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    Enlarge your memory

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    We forget, but God does not forget. The scriptures enlarge our memories, as does the Holy Sabbath, journals and our own personal sacred records.

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    Ammon & Aaron: Two Approaches

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    Minerva Teichert’s depiction of an angel appearing to Alma, Ammon, Aaron, Omner and Himni

    In the Book of Mormon, Alma and King Mosiah had rebellious sons who experienced a miraculous conversion. Fueled by a divine manifestation and a spiritual rebirth, they had a burning desire to reach out and share the experience.

    I don’t think we focus enough on what is was that initially brought upon this desire to go out on this mission.

    These men received a manifestation of God to themselves. (Lecture 2, questions 146 & 147) They knew the pure love of God, it changed them, they were born again and that experience will always cause an individual to immediately desire to reach outward in genuine concern for others. Unless you know God, unless you have tasted of his redemption yourself, then much of your efforts will feel like you’re just under the pressure of trying to get people to join a club.

    When you remove God from the equation, when his literal power and influence are Keep Reading

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    The Course Which They Pursue

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    Of the seven Lectures on Faith, Lecture Sixth is perhaps my personal favorite. It is the only lecture that has this footnote:

    This lecture is so plain, and the facts set forth so self-evident, that it is deemed unnecessary to form a catechism upon it: the student is therefore instructed to commit the whole to memory. (Emphasis Added)

    So what are these facts that are so plain and self-evident and why are they important? In verse 7 we find Keep Reading

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    Lectures on Faith.com is now LIVE!

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    Well, today was like Christmas for me when I noticed that a domain that I have been wanting for quite some time had dropped!

    Screenshot 2014-07-08 21.12.46

    I’m now the owner of “LecturesOnFaith.com“! You can find the Lectures online, but the websites are pretty terrible. I was surprised that nobody has taken the time to make a site worthy of the Lectures. Within a few hours, I built a brand new site where anyone can read the Lectures on Faith for free! On the main page, be sure to read everything there to understand the history behind them.

    They originally constituted the “Doctrine” portion of the Doctrine and Covenants and contain some of the most simple and profound teachings concerning faith and how one may exercise it in a manner to bring salvation to one’s soul.

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