– An interesting by-product of the Civil war‏

The Mormon prophet Joseph Smith ran for President in 1844. He did so with the goal of bringing more power to the federal government and to unit the nation in its liberties. In those days, mobs had been free to persecute the Mormons. It was up to the individual states to make their own freedom guarantees, and so far none had come to the aid of the Mormons. The federal government had not even been able to mandate Rights for all people in all states. The Bill of Rights that was ratified in 1791, did not actually apply everywhere. Even the first amendment, that guaranteed religious freedom, and the second amendment, that gave people the right to bear arms, was not being respected. Joseph had experienced first hand the lawlessness that existed in the United States. He had sought redress for the suffering Saints, and was told that the federal government had no power to intervene.

Tragically, the prophet Joseph Smith was assassinated in 1844 before he could carry out his full campaign for president. His political platform outlined how he would empower the US president to send an army to suppress mobs violating the rights of US citizens. He also stated that he would eliminate slavery and “pay every man a reasonable price for his slaves out of the surplus revenue arising from the sale of public lands, and from the deduction of pay from members of Congress.” Before running for president, he had spent several months in Washington D.C. meeting with the President Van Buren, senitors and congressmen and also writing all the main men running in the upcoming presidential election. He received no commitments or interest from anyone on his views. Joseph stated the following.

“[I would not have run for president] if I and my friends could have had the privilege of enjoying our religious and civil rights as American citizens, even those rights which the Constitution guarantees unto all her citizens alike. But this as a people we have been denied from the beginning. Persecution has rolled upon our heads from time to time, from portions of the United States, like peals of thunder, because of our religion; and no portion of the Government as yet has stepped forward for our relief. And in view of these things, I feel it to be my right and privilege to obtain what influence and power I can, lawfully, in the United States, for the protection of injured innocence.” – Joseph Smith

With the prophet Joseph dead, and no one else on the horizon to pursue changing the nation as a whole, there was no other course for the country other than to face a terrible civil war. What then was the result of that war? Was it simply to end slavery? That was big part of it. But in addition, it created a stronger federal government that could now guarantee the rights of its citizens. No longer would it be possible for states to completely disregard the US Constitution and Bill of Rights. Temples could then dot the land, and people were free to worship. Joseph tried to lead the nation on an easier path, but that was not to be, and the country had to go through some trying times in order to repent and become one again.

– Some interesting facts about President Lincoln, Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon‏

I recently read a fascinating book that presented some interesting information connecting Abraham Lincoln and the Book of Mormon. The book is entitled “The Lincoln Hypothesis” by Timothy Ballard. I will not give you all of the details, as you might wish to do further reading from the book on your own. Here is the main point of the book – President Lincoln was influenced by the Book of Mormon and was strengthened from what he read during the darkest days of his life while he was president during the civil war.

Lincoln was president from March 4, 1861 – April 15, 1865, the date he was assassinated. Lincoln had won his parties nomination in an unlikely contest that was from the start a rather lopsided contest against him. The election victory thus went to Lincoln, an obscure backwoodsman. Abraham Lincoln was prepared and lead by God in a miraculous way to accomplish a great work in America. God had placed Abraham Lincoln as president and now God would further qualify him for his great work.

The Confederates attacked Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861, and the North enthusiastically rallied behind the Union and president Lincoln. Lincoln then concentrated on the military and political dimensions of the war. His primary goal was to reunite the nation. All of this stress of the civil war weighed heavily on president Lincoln. Then, a personal tragedy struck the Lincoln home. His eleven year old son Willie  contracted typhoid fever and suddenly died on Feb 20, 1862. President Lincoln spoke of him, saying “My poor boy, he was too good for this earth. God has called him home. I know that he is much better off in heaven, but then we loved him so. It is hard, hard to have him die.” Mary Lincoln was too devastated to function anymore.

With the stress and tragedies of life, Lincoln suffered bouts of depression. He often could not sleep and paced the hallways. To help out, a new nurse was hired to care for their remaining son . This woman was Rebecca Pomroy and was a deeply believing Christian. She often conversed with Lincoln and guided him to seek a more spiritual life. Lincoln at this time started spending a lot of time reading pocket copy of the New Testament he had in his possession. President Lincoln also happened to have a copy of the Book of Mormon during this time. He started to spend much time in prayer.

In November of 1861 Lincoln personally walked into the Library of Congress and signed the ledger to check out a copy of the Book of Mormon. The ledger still exists with Lincolns signature in it. He then kept the book in his possession for more than eight months and finally returned it in July 1862. But why had he checked it out? Did he read the whole book, and what influence did it have on him?

It is possible that even the exact Book he checked out is still in the rare books collection also. The author of the book I read actually went there and asked to see the book that was possibly checked out by Lincoln. It had several pages that had obviously been dog eared. One page had actually been folded three times to specifically mark it. That page is in Second Nephi where Isaiah chapter 5 is quoted. Interestingly enough, in 1865 when President Lincoln was sworn in for his second term, he asked to have a large Bible brought out for him to lay his hand on for the swearing in and had it opened to Isaiah chapter 5. People present later recorded that after the ceremony, he picked up the book and kissed verse 25. Here is that verse:

“Therefore is the anger of the Lord kindled against his people, and he hath stretched forth his hand against them, and hath smitten them: and the hills did tremble, and their carcases were torn in the midst of the streets. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.” – Isaiah 5:25

A few weeks after returning the Book of Mormon, Lincoln presented the Emancipation Proclamation to his Cabinet on the date of July 22, 1862. He had fully come to realize that all who inhabit the American land should be free and that the country needed to repent of its sins.

In the end, Lincoln was assassinated, but in the process, the nation became unified and adopted the thirteenth and fourteenth amendments that ensured that the Bill of Rights pertained to all citizens and to abolished slavery.

– Spiritual Detox

I have occasionally gone on a special diet in order to detox my body from the ill effects of processed foods. One of the things I drink from time to time to help with that is dandelion tea as it aids the natural filtering capability of the liver. If you give your body the right food and cut out the bad, you can eliminate the impurities lodged there. Then you can have better overall health, such as lungs that are able to absorb oxygen easier, a healthy digestive track and many other benefits. It is clear that there are bad things people commonly ingest into their bodies. To get completely free from them, you need some amount of detox to completely rid your body of them. You have to stick with it and not let one ounce of the bad back in you body.

There is a direct analogy to this that has to do with our spiritual diet and the need for a detox to cleanse your spiritual self. What has your diet been of television shows? What has been your diet of music? Have they been clean and wholesome? If not, these spiritual impurities build up toxins in your spirit that drag down and chain your soul. The following describes what happens if you let evil influences poison your spirit with toxins:

“Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled. They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate” – Titus 1:15–16

Get on a new diet that rids your sprit of the toxins you have built up and feed your spirit with the diet that a Saint should have. You don’t need to be on your new diet for weeks or months to feel the effects of the detox, effects will be immediate. Your diet should consist of – worship, fasting, prayer, scripture and good music.

The spirit as well as the body is in need of constant nourishment. Yesterday’s meal is not enough to sustain today’s needs. An infrequent reading of “the most correct of any book on earth,” as Joseph Smith called it, is not enough. (History of the Church, 4:461.) You must read the Book of Mormon every day. Then you will experience the fruits as follow:

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance…” – Galatians 5:22

– How do you know?

I heard a preacher once take for the title of his sermon – “If you were tried in a court of law for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?” It is an interesting question to ponder. A similar question to ponder would be the following. How do you know if God has identified you as one of His sheep that has heard His voice and have been sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise? Here are my signs for knowing if a person is a true Christian.

1. They rely on God and endure faithfully to the end, having been identified by their baptism of water and being led by the Holy Ghost
Read Second Nephi chapter 31. Here is an excerpt. It speaks to what we need to do after we are baptized.

“For the gate by which ye should enter is repentance and baptism by water; and then cometh a remission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost. And then are ye in this strait and narrow path which leads to eternal life…after ye have gotten into this strait and narrow path, I would ask if all is done? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ with unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save. Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life” – 2 Nephi 31

2. They have the countenance of Christ about them
I can see it in a person’s being. It is the spirit inside that is really beaming forth that people can sense.
“And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts? Therefore, if a man bringeth forth good works he hearkeneth unto the voice of the good shepherd, and he doth follow him.” – Alma 5:14

3. They have troubles and trials
God chastens those he loves. “I will try the faith of my people.” (3 Nephi 26:11). I heard it said that you can judge a person by the enemies they have. True believers will stand out in a crowd and will be persecuted on occasion. This should become more and more apparent as the world becomes more and more wicked.

“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” – Matt 5:11 NIV

Even Christ was derided. People even accusing him of being a drunkard and possessed of the Devil. The following scripture however gives us great comfort.
“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

4. They believe in Prophecy and God speaking to mankind today
Modern revelation is a necessity to gain salvation, for without it we cannot have the revealed word or authority unto salvation. Without revelation, there will not exist the church and kingdom of God, and without that there is no salvation. We need the Holy Spirit to reveal God’s Word and His purpose for us, providing us with personal revelation. Joseph Smith once said the following.
“…any man who says he is a teacher or preacher of righteousness, and denies the spirit of prophecy, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; and by this key false teachers and imposters may be detected.” – Joseph Smith

5. They love and praise God and others and seek to keep the commandments and serve others
“If ye love me keep my commandments” – John 14:15

“Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” – James 1:27

These people will be more concerned about others than themselves and will always be looking for someone to help.

6. They are humble and repentant
“Have ye walked, keeping yourselves blameless before God? Could ye say, if ye were called to die at this time, within yourselves, that ye have been sufficiently humble” – Alma 5:27

7. They show forth good works
“By their fruits ye shall know them” – Matt 7:20

– Prophesied conditions in America; are you part of it?

The Book of Mormon tells of a civilization of people that was destroyed called the Nephites. It would obviously be wise to study and find out what caused their downfall. Then you can apply those circumstances  directly to America today. The destruction of the Nephites came down to one reason – the Nephites did not keep the commandments of God that were a requirement to stay on the land.

“For behold, this is a land which is choice above all other lands; wherefore he that doth possess it shall serve God or shall be swept off; for it is the everlasting decree of God. And it is not until the fulness of iniquity among the children of the land, that they are swept off. And this cometh unto you, O ye Gentiles, that ye may know the decrees of God—that ye may repent, and not continue in your iniquities until the fulness come, that ye may not bring down the fulness of the wrath of God upon you as the inhabitants of the land have hitherto done.” – Ether 2:10,11

What then were the people guilty of? You might be comfortable right now believing that you could not possibly be guilty of what they had been caught up in. Turn to Mormon chapter eight, where Moroni states that he was the last of his people to remain alive. He then is permitted to write about their downfall as he closes out the record of the Book of Mormon. He directs his words in chapter eight directly to us in our day! The Book of Mormon was written for us in our day then to warn us.

Just to be sure that we knew he was talking to us, Moroni goes on to describe the circumstances in America when the book would come forth. These are the evidences he presents to the reader to prove he saw our day:

  • “it shall come in a day when it shall be said that miracles are done away”
  • “it shall come in a day when the blood of saints shall cry unto the Lord, because of secret combinations and the works of darkness”
  • “it shall come in a day when the power of God shall be denied, and churches become defiled and be lifted up in the pride of their hearts; yea, even in a day when leaders of churches and teachers shall rise in the pride of their hearts, even to the envying of them who belong to their churches”
  • “it shall come in a day when there shall be heard of fires, and tempests, and vapors of smoke in foreign lands; And there shall also be heard of wars, rumors of wars, and earthquakes in divers places”
  • “it shall come in a day when there shall be great pollutions upon the face of the earth”
  • “murders, and robbing, and lying, and deceivings, and whoredoms, and all manner of abominations”
  • “it shall come in a day when there shall be churches built up that shall say: Come unto me, and for your money you shall be forgiven of your sins”

Is there any question as to his accuracy? Now that Moroni has gotten our attention, he proceeds to address us directly and tell us some of the things we need to repent of:

“Behold, I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing. And I know that ye do walk in the pride of your hearts…For behold, ye do love money, and your substance, and your fine apparel, and the adorning of your churches, more than ye love the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted. O ye pollutions, ye hypocrites, ye teachers, who sell yourselves for that which will canker, why have ye polluted the holy church of God? Why are ye ashamed to take upon you the name of Christ? Why do ye not think that greater is the value of an endless happiness than that misery which never dies—because of the praise of the world? Why do ye adorn yourselves with that which hath no life, and yet suffer the hungry, and the needy, and the naked, and the sick and the afflicted to pass by you, and notice them not? Yea, why do ye build up your secret abominations to get gain, and cause that widows should mourn before the Lord, and also orphans to mourn before the Lord, and also the blood of their fathers and their husbands to cry unto the Lord from the ground, for vengeance upon your heads? Behold, the sword of vengeance hangeth over you; and the time soon cometh that he avengeth the blood of the saints upon you, for he will not suffer their cries any longer.” – Mormon 8: 35-41

Take a course today to free yourself from the vices of evil that America is caught up in. Take the advice of a modern apostle:

“Moroni announced that he will face us on Judgment Day in defense of his words (see Moro. 10:27). This he will do, together with his book, for out of the books we shall be judged, and the Book of Mormon is one of those books. We now have it in our hands. It is published to the world. It carries God’s message to all. It gives full and fair warning to this generation, and the warning is true! Read it! Believe it! Pray over it! Obey its counsels! It can lead us unerringly to Christ! The last words of Moroni! Dare we forget them?” – Mark E. Petersen

– Navigating a Crisis of Faith

Have you found yourself wondering what you believe in anymore? Have you been embarrassed to admit to your coworkers of friends that you go to church on Sunday? Are you wanting a more purposeful life? We can encounter periods in our life where we get discouraged. There are many reasons for a person to stop and evaluate and question what they believe and why the believe. Questioning is a natural part of human living, but so is finding answers and believing. Should your mounting pile of questions overrule your answers and feelings you have already about God?

“When problems come and questions arise, do not start your quest for faith by saying how much you do not have, leading as it were with your “unbelief.”…I am not asking you to pretend to faith you do not have. I am asking you to be true to the faith you do have. Sometimes we act as if an honest declaration of doubt is a higher manifestation of moral courage than is an honest declaration of faith. It is not! So let us all remember the clear message of this scriptural account: Be as candid about your questions as you need to be; life is full of them on one subject or another. But if you and your family want to be healed, don’t let those questions stand in the way of faith working its miracle…In this Church, what we know will always trump what we do not know. And remember, in this world, everyone is to walk by faith…Honestly acknowledge your questions and your concerns, but first and forever fan the flame of your faith, because all things are possible to them that believe.” – Elder Holland, April 2013 General Conference

Do not delay any longer. Put yourself on a more sure foundation and find you faith for the first time, or strengthen what you have already. It really boils down to a simple plan to follow. Study like crazy, pray as hard and as sincerely as you can, and combine this with living as cleanly as you can. You will not be able to receive any inspiration or gift of faith if you are not living a God fearing righteous life.

“Study diligently, Pray fervently, Live righteously.” – Thomas S. Monson

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– First things first – it is all about the gospel of Jesus Christ

oneOur most important undertaking in life is to understand and embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ. This means our belief in Him, following Him and preaching Him. Christ is our Lord and Saviour.

So what exactly are we being saved from?

Mankind is born into a fallen world. This was brought about by the transgression of Adam and Eve. The result was the removal of man and woman from the presence of God and our becoming subject to physical death. We are both spiritually dead and physically dead.

“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.” – Ephesians 2:1-5 NIV

As mortals we become sinful and fallen people that are out of God’s presence. In such a state we become subject to Satan. This is where the gospel message comes to save us and place us in the state of being made “alive with Christ”. God had a marvelous plan from the beginning to provide for us a Saviour. Jesus saves us from death in two ways. First, we are able to be resurrected and have our earthly body raised to incorruption and united with our spirit in eternity. This is our overcoming of the mortal death. Secondly, we also need to overcome spiritual death. Saving us from the spiritual death of Hell (captivity of the Devil) was also accomplished by the sacrifice of Christ. Those that accept Christ in this life and submit to following him and keeping his commandments will not be subject to Satan after they die, but will immediately enjoy a rest in “paradise”.

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