New Testament

Dec 10, 2014
12 min read

Building Upon the Rock of Christ in a Whirlwind

“And he hath power given unto him from the Father to redeem them from their sins because of repentance; therefore he hath sent his angels to declare the tidings of the conditions of repentance,which bringeth unto the power of the Redeemer, unto the salvation of their souls.

And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall. (Helaman 5:11-12, emphasis added)

I’ve heard this scripture about a billion times and I’m not complaining, it’s a great one, but sometimes we can tend to overlook the value of things that we are too familiar with.

The phrase “shafts in the whirlwind” always made me think of tornadoes, but having a shaft inside of a whirlwind didn’t Read Full Post

3 Comments
Oct 5, 2014
6 min read

Leaven

kingdom-leaven

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?Read Full Post

4 Comments
Sep 22, 2013
3 min read

The Power of Doctrine

doctrines-principles-applications

In his book Increase in Learning, Elder Bednar teaches that principles arise from doctrines. If we take any principle of the gospel such as faith, repentance, obedience, etc and ask the question, “Why is this necessary?” the answer will always be found in doctrine.

Think about how you would answer the question, “Why is faith in Jesus Christ essential?”

Is the way you would answer based in doctrine? How would you answer that question in a way that focuses on the doctrine or doctrines that the principle is based on?

Let’s say, for example, that a few of the following doctrines come to mind when faith in Jesus Christ is pondered:

What scriptures or teachings of modern prophets help us to obtain a more complete understanding of these doctrines?

I had a mission president that once taught Read Full Post

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Jul 22, 2013
19 min read

The Tomb and the Grove

the-tomb-and-the-grove

The Tomb

In the what is today the first book of the New Testament we have an interesting account at the very end of Matthew. Here, it appears that Matthew is attempting to debunk an anti-Christian rumor that was going around concerning the resurrection of Christ.

Now when they were going, behold, some of the watch came into the city, and shewed unto the chief priests all the things that were done. And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers, Saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept. And if this come to the governor’s ears, we will persuade him, and secure you. So they took the money, and did as they were taught: and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day. (Matthew 28:11-15)

According to Matthew a common explanation for the missing body of Christ was attributed to fraud committed by his followers.

Is it really that far of a stretch to believe that among Jesus’ closest confidants and hundreds of followers that someone might have stolen his body in an attempt to somehow “prove” the resurrection? Or that the remaining apostles could have fabricated the story of the resurrection in order to keep the movement going and save face? Isn’t this the simplest explanation if you don’t accept the reality of miracles or the existence of God?

In the case of the Latter-day Saint claim that God restored his Church to the earth, a skeptic might ask Read Full Post

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Jul 18, 2013
14 min read

What Does “Saved by Grace After All We Can Do” Mean?

I’d like to thank my good friend Mike King for being the catalyst that inspired this article. The Bible verses are all from the New American Standard Version just for kicks, thanks, Andrew T. 

jesus-and-john-the-baptist

There’s a verse in the Book of Mormon that I have seen get plenty of criticism from some who think that the verse teaches some kind of “works-based salvation” that diminishes the role of Christ’s grace.

On the other hand, however, I’ve seen Latter-day Saints misunderstand this verse as well. Read the following verse and ponder what you think it is getting at:

“For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.” (2 Nephi 25:23)

At first glance, it might seem like this verse is saying that our efforts actually make up a portion of our salvation. That us “doing things” makes up the first part of our salvation and that Jesus Christ’s atonement kicks in to cover whatever is left over. That is just one way that it can be interpreted, but there’s a glaring problem with that interpretation Read Full Post

4 Comments
Jun 17, 2013
6 min read

Saved by Grace, Judged by Works?

2013-02-20-romans-2-3-saving-sinners-grace-faith-works-2

I was thinking about the whole grace/faith/works debate that seems to endlessly rage between the faiths.

Now we all technically believe in salvation by grace, or in other words, salvation is impossible without grace through the atonement of Jesus Christ. The disagreement seems mainly around how that grace is applied and what man’s role, if any, is in this process of salvation. All sides of the debate would probably agree that some kind of an acknowledgement of Christ’s atonement and grace on behalf of the individual is necessary in order to receive it, but at what point is one “saved”?

What frustrates me is how people on all sides of the debate seem to Read Full Post

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May 21, 2013
0 min read

The size of your faith is not the issue…

“The size of your faith or the degree of your knowledge is not the issue—it is the integrity you demonstrate toward the faith you do have and the truth you already know.” (Lord, I Believe, April 2013 General Conference)

What a great line from Jeffery Holland! I have often erroneously thought to myself, “I can’t wait until I have greater faith so that I can do greater things!”

Maybe this is what the Lord meant when speaking of faith as small as a grain of mustard seed (Matthew 17:20). It isn’t the size of the faith but the degree of integrity toward your current faith where all sufficient power is found.

Mustard-Seed-Faith-by-CRI

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Mar 15, 2013
0 min read

Acts 10:38

Healing of the Blind Man, Buoninsegna

Healing of the Blind Man, Buoninsegna

“…how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.” (Acts 10:38)

I love this verse on many levels. We learn that God was with Jesus and “anointed” him with the Holy Spirit and with power. There are two simple things that Jesus is described as doing:

  1. Going about doing good
  2. Healing those oppressed by the devil

As Latter-day disciples of Jesus, what should this say about our core purpose in daily life? What if we simply focused on just doing good and healing where possible?

0 Comments
Feb 1, 2013
1 min read

Video: The Purifying Power of Gethsemane

Yes! I’m glad that someone has finally uploaded to YouTube a decent version of Bruce R. McConkie’s last testimony in General Conference. I don’t quite know the full story behind this talk, but I do know that he did, in fact, pass away just a few days after giving it. I have heard that he was so ill that he wasn’t even supposed to be able to appear at this conference, let alone give a 15 minute talk.

Elder McConkie is an interesting and controversial figure. I feel shades of Brigham Young in his writings; they both spake very absolutely about what they believed even though they got some things wrong. Since I don’t expect perfection from mortal men, I don’t condemn for their errors and admire point at which they tried to correct them. Thankfully the Spirit is a guard against error and a protection against being led down an incorrect path. I think that’s part of the challenge in belonging to a church run by imperfect, though inspired, men.

I think their contributions and efforts far outweigh their imperfections. Brigham Young was born to colonize and lead, there’s no doubt about that, and Elder McConkie was a relentless force always seeking to serve the Lord and testify of Christ.

As I watch his final testimony, knowing that he knew it would be his last, I admire his courage and dedication and think that his reunion on the other side was probably exactly as he envisioned it.

0 Comments
Jan 6, 2013
1 min read

VIDEO: Mormonism and the Temple: Examining an Ancient Religious Tradition – UPDATED: Jan 23, 2013

The following is taken straight from TempleStudy.com, thanks Bryce for putting these videos together in one place.

The conference “Mormonism and the Temple: Examining an Ancient Religious Tradition,” which took place on October 29, 2012 in Logan, Utah, was filmed, and some of the videos are now available for free in 1080p HD resolution on the Academy for Temple Studies YouTube channel, the Academy’s TempleStudies.org website, as well as embedded below here. The rest of the presenters’ videos are forthcoming.

***Four new videos added Jan 23, 2013: 

  • Laurence Hemming – “Chapel, Church, Temple, Cathedral: Lost Parallels”
  • John Hall – “Ancient Mediterranean Temple Ceremonies”
  • Le Grande Davies – “Temples—Bridges of Eternity”
  • John L. Fowles – “The Temple, The Book of Revelation, and Joseph Smith”

Introduction – Gary N. Anderson & Philip Barlow

Panel Discussion – “Introduction to Temple Studies”

Read Full Post

3 Comments
Nov 28, 2012
0 min read

Symbols of the Sacrament

Nov 12, 2012
4 min read

Don’t worry about tomorrow

why-worry_0304

First off, let’s start with the word “worry”, it actually doesn’t appear anywhere in the King James Bible. In Matthew 6, however we see the phrase “take no thought” which is often translated as “don’t worry” or something along those lines. The Greek word used as the source of these translations is “merimnao” which means “to be anxious about”.

If we take the word “anxious” and look it up in the good ‘ol 1828 Dictionary it can mean that one is “Greatly concerned or solicitous, respecting something future or unknown; being in painful suspense;” What purpose does worry serve? I can understand worry because I often find myself plaguedRead Full Post

5 Comments
Feb 3, 2012
6 min read

Challenging some peculiar ideas about peculiar people

“LOL, ROFL” ok, got it out of your system? As tired as this old cliché is, I think it is high time we bury it. I understand that it can be fun sometimes to play on misunderstandings of words, but when I hear people in a Gospel Doctrine setting or church talk perpetuate the peculiar = weird idea as doctrine I think we need to get our heads out of the cartoons for a while.

By continuing to perpetrate the idea that ‘peculiar’ means ‘odd’ or ‘weird’ we not only teach false doctrine, we corrupt our own understandingRead Full Post

1 Comment
Jul 31, 2011
18 min read

The Everlasting and Eternal God

Every now and then I come across a comment, an article or a discussion about the Eternal nature of God and what it means. This subject has always been very thought-provoking to me so I’d like to put down some thoughts on the matter.

Some who question Church doctrine quote Moroni 7:22 and Mosiah 3:5 which read:

Moroni 7:22 – For Behold, God knowing all things, being from everlasting to everlasting…

Mosiah 3:5 – …who was, and is from all eternity to all eternity…

These scriptures are brought up and compared to an excerpt from Joseph Smith’s “King Follet Sermon” where Joseph states:Read Full Post

1 Comment
Jul 18, 2011
0 min read

Inserts: The Books of the New Testament Chronologically

Have you ever read the New Testament in chronological order? Well now you can with this downloadable guide. Several of these dates and even the order of some of these books are still in question, but from what I could find, these dates are pretty close.

It’s interesting to note that the earliest NT book we have is the Book of James that contains that ever so important verse in chapter one ;) It’s also interesting to note when the different gospels were written.

DOWNLOAD PRINTABLE VERSION

(dates are approximate)

50 A.D. – James
50 A.D. – Matthew
51 A.D. – 1 Thessalonians
51 A.D. – 2 Thessalonians
53 A.D. – Galatians
55 A.D. – 1 Corinthians
55 A.D. – 2 Corinthians
57 A.D. – Romans
60 A.D. – Colossians
60 A.D. – Ephesians
60 A.D. – Philemon
60 A.D. – Mark
60 A.D. – 1 Peter
63 A.D. – Philippians
63 A.D. – Acts
63 A.D. – Hebrews
63 A.D. – Titus
63 A.D. – 1 Timothy
63 A.D. – 2 Timothy
68 A.D. – 2 Peter
70 A.D. – Luke
70 A.D. – John
65-80 A.D. – Jude
85-90 A.D. – 1,2,3 John
54-96 A.D. – Revelation

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Dec 27, 2010
6 min read

The Sower, the Tree of Life and the Degrees of Glory

We have a parable and two visions to look at here. The parable of the sower is a familiar New Testament parable related by Jesus Christ to a multitude from a ship on the sea shore about the various types of ground certain seeds were cast on to. The first vision is an account in the Book of Mormon by a prophet named Lehi who sees a vision revolving around a tree of life and a description of the various types of people he observes. The second vision is an account from Joseph Smith in the Doctrine and Covenants concerning the degrees of glory that exist in the hereafter and a description of the characteristics of those inhabitants.

The Sower

In the parable of the sower, we are taught by the Master about seeds cast into various situations and what the consequences were. The parable is found in Matthew 13 in the New Testament.

  1. Good ground: (Brought forth fruit; some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.)
    Interpretation: To those that hear the word and understand it, they will all bear fruit but at varying degrees.
  2. The way side: (Fowls came and devoured them up)
    Interpretation: When any one hears the word of the kingdom, but doesn’t understand it the adversary can come and steal away whatever was sown in his heart.
  3. Thorns: (The thorns sprung up, and choked them.)
    Interpretation: This is one that hears the word, but the care of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word.
  4. Stony places: (There was not much earth so when they sprung up they were scorched by the sun because they had no root and they withered away.)
    Interpretation: This is one that hears the word and receives it gladly but because ‘he hath not root in himself’, he endures for a while but is immediately offended when tribulation and persecution arise.

Lehi’s Vision of the Tree of Life

In Lehi’s vision there are multitudes of people pressing towardRead Full Post

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