Saturday, March 29, 2014

Book of Mormon Scripture Activity 2: Prayer

  1. Read Ether 1:34-39, 43 and write a statement about the role prayer played in the Jaredites' early history.  
     During the time of the Tower of Babel and all the ensuing confusion which seems like a major trial or disruption, Jared and the Brother of Jared looked to the Lord for assistance and directions. The Brother of Jared prayed and received answers to his prayer, which indicates his belief and faith in God. The word cried is used to describe  the manner in which he prayed. I believe this indicates his prayers were heart felt and emotional, in comparison to a family prayer closing out the day. The question Jared asks in connection to where the Lord may lead them leads me to believe their relationship to God is positive in that they had the hope that even though being driven from their homeland, the place we may end up will be better and choice above all others. Had they focused on the confusion surrounding them and attached or blamed God their expectation of help from him would have been less optimistic. Overall, I believe they had an established relationship with God through prayer. They had faith he would bless them. They enjoyed miracles after the test of their faith.
  1. Verse 34; The Brother of Jared was highly favored of the Lord.
  2. Jared, his brother asked his to Cry unto the Lord so their language would not be confounded.
  3. Verse 35: The Brother of Jared cried unto the Lord
  4. The Lord had compassion on Jared
  5. The language of Jared and his brother was not confounded.
  6. Verse 36:  jared asked his brother to pray again to the Lord to turn away God's anger so their friends language would not be confounded.
  7. Verse 37: The Brother of Jared prayed to the Lord.
  8. The Lord had compassion on their friends and family.
  9. Their language was not confounded.
  10. Verse 38: Jared asked his brother to pray and inquire if they were to be driven out of the land.
  11. If they were to be driven out of the land, where were they to go?
  12. Jared said, "Who knoweth but the Lord will carry us forth into a land which is choice above all the earth?" 
  13. Jared then says, "if it so be, let us be faithful unto the Lord, taht we may receive it for our inheritance."
  14. Verse 39: The Brother of Jared followed his brothers instructions and cried unto the Lord.
  15. Verse 43  They are promised they will be blessed, as well as their posterity, also those that travel with them.
  16. They will be a great nation.
  17. These blessing come from their devotion to the Lord.
  1. In response to requests from Jared, the brother of Jared "did cry unto the Lord"(Ether 1:34-39). Read Ether 2:14 and write your answer to the following questions:
    • Why did the Lord chasten the brother of Jared?
    • Why you think God wants us to come to Him often in prayer?
    • What is the difference between crying unto the Lord and merely saying our prayers?
    • What can you do to make your prayers more effective?
1. The Brother of Jared was chastened because he had not remembered to pray.
2. I think we are reminded to pray often for several reasons. When we kneel to pray and bow our heads we are in a position of reverence and humility to whom we are praying. Humility is defined in True to the Faith, "to be humble is to recognize gratefully your dependence on the Lord." Praying in reverent obedience shows the Lord we are sincere and humble of heart. We are also weak and easily distracted by the vain things of this world. We learned from the student manual that, "We are subject to temptation and struggle. Each of us experiences personal weaknesses. Nevertheless, the Lord clearly teaches that as we come unto him in humility and faith, He will turn weakness into strength." Frequent prayer protects us from the temptation we are so distracted by and prone to as fallen beings. I also believe praying to Heavenly Father keeps our pride in check. We are not the master of our universe and recognize from whence we came, continually.
3. Praying to the Lord happens in most group settings. We pray in church, we hold family prayer, a cowboy prayed at the rodeo last night for the safety of the participants. I believe crying to the Lord happens more often in a personal setting, where all pretense is laid aside, from the depths of a persons heart and soul. Yet, even this would not be the best definition of the difference. To illustrate I will use a personal experience. A few years ago my granddaughter aspirated on a kernel of popcorn. After CPR, first aid from a police officer,she was taken by ambulance to our local hospital then life-flighted to Primary Children's. I thought she was not going to live. With a laying on of hands as she was passed from police to ambulance, she took her first breath after many long minutes. As family members gathered at the hospital we cried to the Lord for the doctors and nurses caring for her and for her life. Through the night as we camped out in a conference room at the hospital, I cried to the Lord in my heart and I believe every other family member did as we tossed and turned in sleeplessness waiting for the dawn to bring news of hope. This is my best example of the difference between praying and crying to the Lord. We cried to the Lord personally and as a group. Crying to the Lord has more to do with the depth of our soul as we pray, while being stripped of pride. We sincerely acknowledge that we will accept His will. We were very grateful when Jayne was released from the hospital a few days later. We recognize the power of the priesthood. We are grateful for miracles.
4. This semester and last I have scrutinized my prayers. As I read my assignments I look at the examples of those in the scriptures for ways to improve my prayers. I can pray more often. I am fairly consistent with my morning and evening prayers, but not perfect. I recently found myself repenting in relationship to my prayers, that they are not sincere enough. That thought has rattled around for a week or so. I was glad to read the story in the student manual of the student in Brazil that vacillated between paying her tithing or her school fees. After making up her mind to pay her tithing and turning it in to her Bishop she asked forgiveness for her indecision. I felt like her feelings of repentance were similar to mine and it is okay to express awareness of weakness even when the weakness is contained in something I should be doing, like prayer. Then I chastise myself for my lack of faith. I struggle believing I am worthy of what I am praying for. My prayers will improve if I am Sincere, pray Often, with Faith andTestimony my prayers won't be soft, which lack devotion. As I lay on my soft pillow I will listen for answers and remember this commitment to avoid soft prayers. 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Book of Mormon Reading Assignment Week 9

List of what we should know or do because we have the Book of Mormon:  3 Nephi 29:1-4,8-9
1. The covenant Heavenly Father made with the children of Israel in connection to the restoration of the lands of their inheritance has commenced.
2. The words of the Lord, spoken of by holy prophets will all be fulfilled.
3. It is not appropriate to say the Lord delays his coming to the children of Israel.
4. The words spoken and covenants made by the Lord to the people of the house of Israel are not vain.
5. When these promises are published and shared, they should not be spurned. We are taught that, "the word spurn and hiss are used to warn Book of Mormon readers in the latter days to not treat lightly the Lord's covenants with Israel. Spurn means to reject with disdain and hiss is to express disdain or disapprobation by hissing. We must recognize this warning, "In the time of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon there will be a pronounced lack of understanding, belief, and reverence for both the reality of the Second Coming and the work of the Lord in gathering Israel." Those that spurn and hiss will have their actions turned back and consume them.
6. Covenants will be fulfilled and all are invited to claim the same covenants and promises.
Warnings Mormon gave in 3 Nephi 29:5-7:
1. Warning to those that spurn at the doings of the Lord.
2. Warning to those that deny Jesus Christ and his works.
3. Warning to those that deny the revelations of the Lord.
4. Warning to those that say the Lord no longer works by revelation, prophecy, gifts, tongues, healings or by the power of the Holy Ghost.
5. Warning to those that say that no miracle can be performed by Jesus Christ for the purpose of getting gain. 
Those that do not heed the warnings are like the son of perdition, who will receive no mercy.
Mormon's warnings are given to the latter-day Gentiles in 3 Nephi 30 1-2:
1. Hearken to the words of Jesus Christ, who is the son of the living God. 
2. Turn from wicked ways.
3. Repent of evil doings which include lying, deceiving, whoredoms, secret abominations, idolatries, murders, priestcrafts, envyings, and strifes.
The warnings are directed to the House of Israel. Gentile means nations, but refers to any person not of the house of Israel. The word has two meaning; descendants of Israelite lineage and those nations without the gospel regardless of true Israelite blood. The people in the Book of Mormon most often fall in the second category. 
 Steps someone can take to overcome these types of sins:
1. Come unto Christ.
2. Baptism in his name to receive a remission of sins and be filled with the Holy Ghost.
3. Be numbered among the House of Israel.
Mormon included these warnings as we are gentiles adopted into the house of Israel through baptism. "Mormon offered the only antidote to these destructive conditions-come unto Jesus Christ and have faith in Him, repent of your sins, be baptized, and be filled with the Holy Ghost that ye may be numbered with my people who are of the house of Israel."We are then able to make temple covenants and enjoy the blessings promised to Abraham.  Just a note about lineage after listening to your lecture. I looked at my patriarchal blessing. My blessing says, "You are descended from the ancient patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. You are of the true blood of Israel. In your lecture you mention those descended from European nations are generally not of the blood of Israel, but some are. My most recent relatives came from England with a line from France. I have my parents blessing as they are both deceased so I looked at their blessings also to see my lineage was consistent through them.  My mothers mentions Ephraim. My fathers says, "...for the blood of Israel flows through your veins, even that of the great man Joseph who was sold into Egypt and there are great blessing in store for you..." So, both blessing are saying the same thing. I recognize how I live is what qualifies me for the blessings and covenants of Abraham, but interesting to note the lineage. 

Book of Mormon Week 10 Reading Assignment

Scripture Activity 2: Reasons for Sorrow

Mormon 2:10-15  Reasons for the Nephite sorrow:
1.The Nephites were losing their belongings and lives to thieves, robbers, murderers, and witchcraft.
2. They sorrowed that they were not able to continue to live a life of sin without consequence.
 Mormon 2:18-19, 25-27  List the reasons for Mormon's sorrow:
1. Mormon viewed a continual scene of wickedness and abominations within this nation.
2. His army of 30,000 had to contend against the Lamanite army of 50,000 and the strength of the Lord was not with them.  He said, "the Spirit of the Lord did not abide in us; therefore we had become weak like unto our brethren."
What was the difference between the sorrow of the Nephites and the sorrow of Mormon?
Elder Neal A Maxwell explained the difference between godly sorrow and "the sorrowing of the damned. After recognition, real remorse floods the soul. There is a 'godly sorrow , not merely a 'sorrow of the world' nor the 'sorrowing of the damned'when we can no longer 'take happiness in sin'." False remorse is like fondling our failings.(student manual)  First, the word fondling is a creepy word, it conjures of thoughts of child predator. So fondling our failings/sins should remind us how repulsive it is to nurture a relationship with them. I realized that I am a too defensive and have come to realize too many times I defend bad behavior in being defensive. The sorrow of the Nephites was to fondle or defend their sin, therefore continue in sin, whereas Mormon recognized sin for what it is and sorrowed for their unrepentant nature.
Explain in writing how each of the following scripture passages relates to the Nephites' sorrow, to Mormon's sorrow, or to both:
1.Alma 41:10:  We cannot sin and expect happiness to be the reward. Blessings and eternal life are given to those who are obedient. The Nephites had sorrow in their sin and were not willing to change their behavior. Therefore, their sorrow was caused by their behavior. Mormon wrote that when his people became wicked they lost the strength of the Lord that had previously protected them. The Nephites remained in denial of their wickedness and their sorrow persisted through to their death. 
2. Alma 42:29: Only let sin trouble us, which will bring us to repentance. The Nephites were concerned about their 'worldly possessions' and their prestige which blinded them to their sinful state. Thus, they did not feel sorrow to repentance. It reminds me of news stories where a person is defending their violent act because the other person who is often times dead, "disrespected them."  What does that even mean? Someone glances wrong or stab them. This is prevalent in our society. Unfortunately respect is earned, not won in the streets. Maintaining self respect with violence is a dead end.
3. Moroni 10:22  Lack of hope = despair an despair = iniquity.  Mormon lost hope in his people, not through his personal iniquity, but because his people would not repent and turn to the Lord. Perfect scripture for me today. I have said, "I give up" way too many times in my life, but I always look at conditions in my life, not the state of my life. The Nephites did not make this connection as they faced extermination. I wonder if this could be applied to the troubled Jewish nation. I grew up with the poster of a cat hanging on to the end of a rope and the caption to hang on. I am not sure that is the best advice. Why is the cat in that position and what changes should the cat make to get out of that position. Our sin takes us to the end of the rope. Why hang on to the end of the rope when repentance will change our position. When in despair, find the sin behind it, apply the steps of repentance and make changes for a return to hope.
4. 2 Corinthians 7:9-10  This scripture tells of difference between godly sorrow which brings repentance and eternal life and worldly sorrow which brings unrepentant behavior and death. The atonement fixes both spiritual death through sorrow and repentance and physical death through resurrection. The Nephites will enjoy the reward of resurrection, but will suffer spiritual death because their sorrow did not bring them to repentance. Understanding godly sorrow becomes very personal when a child or sibling exemplify Nephite behavior. My brother continues his Nephite lifestyle which so evidently is bringing physical and spiritual death. I have a daughter that allowed Nephite behavior to lead her off the path for a time. I experienced verse 9, Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance. It is scary to watch loved ones when their sorrow is misguided.
5. Moses 7:28-40.  We were created and given agency. We were given commandments to obey. We will be punished if we choose wickedness over obedience and repentance. We are accountable for our sins. Sin is taught from generation to generation and leads to Satan the father of misery and doom. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ sorrow over the wickedness of their children. These scriptures are in reference to the time of Noah and the destruction brought about by iniquity. It applies to the Nephites and every person that has lived on the earth. The Nephites had agency. They had leaders and prophets to lead them. They did not choose to repent and joined the people of Noah in the prison God prepared. Every person born and alive past the age of accountability has the same obligation to understand the purpose of this life and reap the rewards of happiness or sorrow.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Friday Family Night

     After work Austin, Julianne, Addy, Clara Anne, and Tilly came over for just about an hour. It is always fun to have them over. We sat on the back patio while Gramps showed Austin the new grow box. We talked about fruit trees. Austin wants to plant a lemon tree, a grapefruit tree, and a kumquat tree in his yard. We have our orange tree and it has blossoms. According to Austin we should let the tree produce fruit for two years so the growth all goes into the tree. It is always hard to pluck the flowers or buds off. I want to see the life cycle. After they left we went into town and met Jen and fam and Mand and Stephen at Red Robin. We had a lot of fun. We talked and laughed and had a good meal. Not healthy in the biggest lament right now. Came home and spent the last couple of hours setting up the yard sale with Jen. I don't have time for all I must do tomorrow...not sure what to cut out. Friday is over, it was a good day.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Thursday Night Gatherings

   Only sixteen left...hip, hip, hooray!  Have I mentioned that I don't love the Thursday night gatherings? Have I mentioned they seem to be a waste of time. The lesson material is a review of what I have done with the homework. My missionaries are not the friendliest people I have ever met. That being said, I must eat some humble pie this week. The homework this week is a continuation of exponents and the rules regarding them and more Excel. I can do the math, but I was stuck on the Excel. I asked another student for help! I have been a little proud and a humbling experience was long overdue. I did work a problem on the board, but I couldn't do the Excel portion of the homework to save my life. I received help from another student, from the Lead student and just before leaving another student. I think I am going to be able to figure it out...Yeah. The gatherings have meaning and all good things come to an end.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Tempting Fate

     Last night I posted that I would not compare myself to others. It does not change my situation and more often than not it creates negative feelings in me. I was feeling very good at work today. Diana asked me to have the Portland team sit by me as they are learning DocVelocity. It included a meet and greet, then a 15 minute session, then a lunch, then another 45 minute session. All that happened, except the last training session. In the mean time Diana came to me and asked me to help Paul order appraisals, even thought he cancels aren't caught up. Then later she came and asked me to help Andrew catch up on something he does, he will train me tomorrow. I was feeling pretty good, I feel like Diana can ask me to help and I always say yes. It was also fun to do something different, I am bored reviewing files. Well, on my ride home I find out my car pool buddy got her feelings hurt. Alison was in her office and pried out of her why and of course Keith and Diana were all apologizing and etc. Of course I remind myself that none of them would ever care if there was anything wrong with me. And I have learned to completely mask any personal feelings at work. So, instead of keeping the good feelings I had I compared myself and traded the good for negative. It wasn't until I was on my jog that I realized I had done what I didn't want to do. I must remember as the situation is happening, not after I am well into a comparison. I will try again tomorrow. I am late getting to bed and I am falling asleep.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Winding Down...The Last Week Practicum

Teancum and Bill went to see the Hobbit. Gramps got a kick out of Tank. He said he laughed during the movie and got a little scared too. After the movie Tank told Gramps that the movie was very well made. I am glad Tank and Gramps could go to a movie together and I am glad I got to stay home and work on homework, do the dishes and a load of laundry. I read a few of the essays in my new book of happiness and it was explained why we shouldn't compare ourselves. If we compare to any that have more or do better in life we feel less satisfied with ourselves and our situation. Yet, when we compare to those with less we feel gratitude. In the end comparing to either does not change our situation. I am taking note of this suggestion and plan to apply it when I find myself in the comparison mood.