Saturday, August 31, 2013

Which Plate Am I ?

Church History Tour: Brigham Young's Home

The Kitchen table in the Brigham Young home in Nauvoo
(Photo taken by Richard Rust, with permission)
B-A-C-K to the Church History Tour!  One of my favorite places of the whole tour was of coarse, Nauvoo.  I love that city and love visiting there.  It had been about 13 years since I was there last, so it was exciting to be back again.

While we were there we heard from various people and missionaries, "go see the Brigham Young house!"

We went inside and it was quaint and cute like all the other restored homes, smelling a little dusty, testifying to me that yes this place is old, and very authentic. 

At first I didn't quite see how it was "the best house in Nauvoo" or was any different than the other homes. I loved them all as there is some lesson or principle to learn in each house.

In the Brigham Young home the principle that they taught was the Atonement.  Just thinking about it now, I am taken back to the moment we stood in front of this table and were taught about plates and the Atonement.

The story: As they were beginning to restore the Brigham Young home, they found out by the cellar/or maybe in the cellar,  a dishes set, that was badly broken.  A Senior missionary serving in Nauvoo on a mission, knew about restoring plates like this and went about making these plates look as if they were  new and had never been broken. The process is interesting and remarkable how they can make something that is so badly broken and unusable, new again without even a mark or scar to be seen.

The missionaries compared these plates to the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  They explained how our Savior takes each one of us in a broken plate state, and through His mercy, grace, and the great power of His Atonement, redeems us, and makes us new again. 

I loved this lesson, and contemplated for days... Where  am I at in the cleansing process of the Atonement? Am I letting the Savior change me and redeem me? Which plate am I?

 

 


 
 
 
*All photos of the plates were taken in the in the Brigham Young home in Nauvoo
 by Richard Rust, with permission

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Improving Personal Scripture Study

By using Footnotes

 lds,org image library
 

If your personal scripture study has begun to feel mundane or repetitive and very predictable, I would suggest to spice things up a bit by digging a little deeper.

One of the greatest ways to improve the quality and spiritual experience of your personal scripture study is to take things a little slower, more detailed by searching the footnotes to the verses you read.

You may only get to one verse a day or even half a chapter instead of much more, but your experience will be greatly enriched.

Let's start with 3 Nephi 11: 1 as an example:

lds.org image library

3 Nephi 11:1 And now it came to pass that there were a great multitude agathered together, of the people of Nephi, round about the temple which was in the land bBountiful; and they were marveling and wondering one with another, and were showing one to another the cgreat and marvelous change which had taken place.

 Footnotes
(a.) gathered   Helaman 3:9, 14
 9  And the people who were in the land northward did dwell in tents, and in houses of cement, and they did suffer whatsoever tree should spring up upon the face of the land that it should grow up, that in time they might have timber to build their houses, yea, their cities, and their temples, and their synagogues, and their sanctuaries, and all manner of their buildings.

14  But behold, a
hundredth part of the proceedings of this people, yea, the account of the Lamanites and of the Nephites, and their wars, and contentions, and dissensions, and their preaching, and their prophecies, and their shipping and their building of ships, and their building of temples, and of synagogues and their sanctuaries, and their righteousness, and their wickedness, and their murders, and their robbings, and their plundering, and all manner of abominations and whoredoms, cannot be contained in this work. 

(b) Bountiful   Alma 22:29, 3 Nephi 3:23
29  And also there were many Lamanites on the east by the seashore, whither the Nephites had driven them. And thus the Nephites were nearly surrounded by the Lamanites; nevertheless the Nephites had taken possession of all the northern parts of the land bordering on the wilderness, at the head of the river Sidon, from the east to the west, round about on the wilderness side; on the north, even until they came to the land which they called Bountiful
23  And the land which was appointed was the land of Zarahemla, and the land which was between the land Zarahemla and the land Bountiful, yea, to the line which was between the land Bountiful and the land Desolation. 

 (c) great  3 Nephi 8:11-14

11  And there was a great and terrible destruction in the land southward.
12  But behold, there was a more great and terrible destruction in the land northward; for behold, the whole face of the land was changed, because of the tempest and the whirlwinds, and the thunderings and the lightnings, and the exceedingly great quaking of the whole earth;
13  And the highways were broken up, and the level roads were spoiled, and many smooth places became rough.
14  And many great and notable cities were sunk, and many were burned, and many were shaken till the buildings thereof had fallen to the earth, and the inhabitants thereof were slain, and the places were left desolate.


I love reading my scriptures using the footnotes. It brings a bigger picture and rich insights to my scripture study.
 
 
Another great verse to practice this on or to start with is Genesis 1:1

 In the abeginning bGod ccreated the dheaven and the eearth.


Happy scripture studying!! 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Church History Tour: Liberty Jail Experience

 
 
I love the Prophet Joseph Smith!
 
As we visited Liberty Jail and saw with our eyes and felt so much of what he and the other prisoners went through, I really felt grateful for how he endured that trial and what he learned from it, and how I have grown from this experience as well as my own Liberty Jail trials.
 

Liberty Jail:  A small jail in which the Prophet Joseph Smith and others were unjustly imprisoned from November 1838 to April 1839. While in these difficult conditions, Joseph received certain revelations, gave prophecies, and was inspired to write an important letter to the Saints, excerpts of which are contained in Doctrine and Covenants 121–123.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland gave an astoundingly great talk on this very subject about 5 years ago called
 
 
It is a must read, and I hope you will take the time to study that talk.
 

"In the Prophet Joseph’s letters, he spoke of the jail being a “hell, surrounded with demons … where we are compelled to hear nothing but blasphemous oaths, and witness a scene of blasphemy, and drunkenness and hypocrisy, and debaucheries of every description.”    “We have … not blankets sufficient to keep us warm; and when we have a fire, we are obliged to have almost a constant smoke,” he said.  “Our souls have been bowed down”   and “my nerve trembles from long confinement,” Joseph wrote.   “Pen, or tongue, or angels,” could not adequately describe “the malice of hell” that he suffered there.    All of this occurred during what, by some accounts, was considered the coldest winter on record in the state of Missouri." (Lessons from Liberty Jail)



The jail walls were 4 feet thick, 2 feet of wood and 2 feet of rock making escape impossible.  This was a horrible, terrible, lonely, and forsaken time in Joseph's life.  It was the hardest experience he had until the martyrdom, 5 years later.
 
 
Several of our present and past Church leaders have referred to Liberty Jail and a prison-temple.  Very interesting metaphor don't you think!
 
"Certainly this prison-temple lacked the purity, beauty, comfort, and cleanliness of our modern temples. The speech and behavior of the guards and criminals who came there were anything but temple-like. In fact, the restricting brutality and injustice of this experience at Liberty would make it seem the very antithesis of the liberating, merciful spirit of our temples and the ordinances performed in them." (Lessons from Liberty Jail)

"So in what sense could Liberty Jail be called a “temple,” and what does such a title tell us about God’s love and teachings, including where and when that love and those teachings are made manifest? In precisely this sense: that you can have sacred, revelatory, profoundly instructive experiences with the Lord in any situation you are in. Indeed, you can have sacred, revelatory, profoundly instructive experiences with the Lord in the most miserable experiences of your lifein the worst settings, while enduring the most painful injustices, when facing the most insurmountable odds and opposition you have ever faced" (Lessons from Liberty Jail)

What Truths Strengthen YOU from the Liberty Jail Experience ?
 
 
So many truths can be pulled out of this experience that Joseph had specifically. Liberty Jail was a totally refining trial in his life. It was said, that after Liberty, Joseph was a different prophet in that he knew who he was more, he spoke with more power and more confidence and more direction. Trials do that for us. They refine us and make us stronger and better. 
 
 
  • Revelation was given for everyone! The Liberty Jail time was a refining time for ALL the Saints. and continues to be so even today!  Think about how other's trials also strengthen us!  Reading Doctrine and Covenants 121-123 that was FOR Joseph, was really FOR all of us. This scripture passage strengthens me like no other scripture passage does during hard refining trials.
  • Trials of Liberty sustained them in future trials and cemented their faith.
  • The Lord has His timing. Although we have to wait for a time period during trials, He has not left us, forgotten about us or forsaken us. Joseph  asked the Lord HOW LONG, and WHERE ART THOU? This time was extremely refining and sanctifying for Joseph.
  • Even the worthy will suffer great trials. Trust that the Lord delivers! Things don't always work out the way we think they will. Our righteous desires aren't always fulfilled when we expect them to be. However, the Lord is still guiding us!
 



 
Homework assignment:



Elder Holland's talk Lessons from Liberty Jail

Doctrine and Covenants 121–123.

 


Friday, August 16, 2013

Church History Tour: Temples and Temple-like places


I love temple-like places!  They are holy and sacred places where you feel the Spirit of what once happened there.  I absolutely love being in those kinds of places!!  If I could give our Church History workshop/tour a THEME, I was say TEMPLES.  Our theme throughout the whole week was temples....building temples,  being temple going and covenant keeping people, and being in temple-like places.

What were the temple-like places?
What makes a place feel temple-like?
There are many temple-like places. If you look at your life and some of the experiences you have gone through, you can start to pick out temple-like places.. special and unique to you and your family.
In speaking of the early Saints as well as Joseph Smith and the other leaders....I stood in many of their temple-like places....places where something strengthening, sacrificing, and refining occurred.  Some were places where prophecy is attached to them and the holiness of these spots is already evident. These places all have a special special feel to them...a very powerful spirit.  In essence, when you are in these places, they feel holy, and temple-like in the spirit you feel when you are there.
Some of these temple-like places that we visited on this tour were:
 
the Independence Temple lot
This is the place of a future Temple, and the place of the Garden of Eden.



 
Adam-ondi-ahman
The place "where Adam dwelt" after they were expelled from the Garden of Eden.
It is the place a future gathering of Adam, all those who held priesthood keys, where the righteous will gather
and where the Savior will return to His people before the Second Coming.

There is not much there except beautiful green land.  There are missionaries assigned there as gardeners.
Beautiful peaceful place. 

 
Liberty Jail
This is where Joseph Smith and others lived for 6 months and where Joseph suffered the greatest. Sections 121-123 were written from this place.



Far-West Temple lot
The corner stones are still there, but a temple was never built.




 Parley's  Street in Nauvoo
Super sacred feeling street where the Nauvoo Pioneers lined up their wagons as they left Nauvoo, forced by the mobs.  The morning we were here, it was an over-cast, very somber morning.  You could really picture and imagine the mood that must have existed as the pioneers left their city.


and...

Winter Quarters
Beautiful temple sitting on the edge of the Winter Quarter cemetery. One of the sacred holy places of our Church history.
As I walked in to the cemetery a flood of emotion over-came me. You can feel of their sweet sacrificing spirits there.
Hard to hold the tears back!
 
 
 
 

The majestic Nauvoo Temple!



Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Church History Tour: Independence, Missouri


These shoes served me well and stood in many sacred holy places
that were "temple-like" in their sacredness and spirit...
from Independence, Missouri...to Liberty Jail...to Parley Street in
Nauvoo...to Winter Quarters in Omaha, Nebraska. 

Hi everyone!  Just got back from a whirlwind Church History Workshop with my husband and am excited to share some of the awesome, insights we learned along the way.  This was SUCH a great opportunity that I wish all of you could experience. I know we may be boring people or boring parents, but I would MUCH rather spend my money and time on a Church History Tour than a trip to Disney Land.  It is so worth it and such a testimony building experience.
 
You can't go to these sacred places without coming away moved, that yes indeed, something sacred happened here.  You feel it. However,  let me interject and say that you don't have to be in these places to know it is real, or to feel the power of testimony of these people and experiences. 
 
Someone once said, " In great deeds and great sacrifices
something resides." 
 
That is a very true statement. When you are standing in the same air, or on the same floor boards, or the same dirt that these people once did...where they sacrificed, did great deeds, or died for a cause....you FEEL of their spirit and their purpose.
 
 
Ready to go on a short Church History Tour? Let's begin....
 
We'll start with Independence, Missouri.

the promises and prophecies...
 
An important thing to remember is that Independence, Jackson County, Missouri was the location of the Garden of Eden.

"It is a pleasant thing to think of and to know where the garden of Eden was...In Jackson County was the garden of Eden, Joseph has declared this and I am as much bound to believe that as to believe Joseph was a prophet of God" (Brigham Young, Journal History of the Church, March 15, 1857)

"In accord with the revelations given to the Prophet Joseph Smith, we teach that the Garden of Eden was on the American continent located where the City of Zion or the New Jerusalem will be built.  When Adam and Eve were driven out of the Garden, they eventually dwelt at a place called Adam-ondi-Ahman, situated in Daviess County, Missouri" (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation)
Independence is also the location of a future temple site and the New Jerusalem. Right now it is a large area of grass where  a cornerstone is layed.


" Joseph Smith dedicated the temple site for the city of New Jerusalem on August 3, 1831.  He laid the northeast cornerstone and delivered the dedicatory prayer."


 
 
 
the persecutions and misery...
 
Independence is a place of promise and prophecy.  However, when the early Saints lived there, it was anything but pleasant or promising. This is kind of a tough time of LDS Church History that we remember as being a place of persecutions and misery for the Church leaders and the Saints. The leaders of the Church were tarred and feathered, businesses and homes burned, and the Saints were driven out.  Like you, I have wondered WHY it was so bad or had to be so bad?  Where was the law? Where was the civility? Where was God?
 
In the 1830's Missouri was the far west border of the country.  It was where the lawless criminals were hiding out. The Saints were, of coarse,  not the lawless, uncivilized, uneducated type. They were a people who were  following their God, their prophet, and their faith.  This was the Independence, Missouri that the Saints found:
 
"It seemed good and pleasant for brethren to meet together in unity. But our reflections were many, coming as we had from a highly cultivated state of society in the east, and standing now upon the confines or western limits of the United States...; how natural t was to observe the degradation, leanness of intellect, ferocity, and jealousy of a people that were nearly a century behind the times.
As we could not associate with our neighbors (who were, many of them, of the basest of m en, and had fled from the face of civilized society, to the frontier country to escape the hand of justice)  in their midnight revels, their Sabbath breaking, horse racing, and gambling;  they commenced at first to ridicule, then to persecute." (History of the Church)  

Some may struggle with WHY the Saints had to suffer so much or HOW they endured all the persecutions they did. Some may wonder where God was for them at that time.  One principle to keep in mind is that the  the Lord was refining His Saints.  The refining process can't happen through easy times of no trial. Although the early Saints went through severe trials and suffered incredible losses, they were never alone.  When we go through hard times of trial and wonder where the Lord is we are never alone. I'll cover that topic a little more when we talk about the  Liberty Jail experience.