Time is a Gift

The current prophet and President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Thomas S. Monson, once said,

Time is a gift, a treasure not to be put aside for the future but to be used wisely in the present.

So often in life we put off the things that matter most in order to accomplish our temporary goals. We think we’re doing ourselves or others a favor, but in reality we’re robbing ourselves and those we love of precious time. As important as work, school, and other such things are, what is of most importance and the highest value to us is our relationships. Our relationship with God, with Christ, and with our family and friends.

So many of us look back and wish we had spent even just a little less time with our ambitions and more time enjoying the simple things with the ones we love. One less hour at work and one more dinner at home. One less day away and one more afternoon hike. Etc. Etc. No one really looks back and wishes, “If only we could’ve had that vacation!” More often it’s the little things, the minutes or the moments that could’ve left an eternal imprint upon our hearts.

The things we can do are simple: pray together as a family more often, always attend church together, read the word of God together, have more dinners as a family, especially at home, take an evening out of each week and dedicate it to family time, and so on. It’s these simple things we do that add up to a lifetime of fond memories.

Use time wisely, it is a gift. Perhaps that is why it is called the present.

Happiness and the Fall

There is a lot of misconception about the Fall of Adam and Eve. Many are under the impression that it was a mistake. That it wasn’t supposed to happen. That life would be better if it never happened. Well, I’m here to tell you that such ideas aren’t correct. The Fall was in fact part of God’s plan, and because of it we can be happy. Allow me to explain. I’ll start off with some verses from the Book of Mormon. The prophet Nephi explained the necessity of the Fall as such,

And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden. And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end. (2 Nephi 2:22)

If Adam and Eve had not eaten the fruit they would’ve remained in the Garden of Eden. Nothing would have changed. Makes sense, right? Nephi continues…

And they would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin.

But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things.

Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy. (2 Nephi 2:23-25)

Adam and Eve’s state in the Garden was that of pure innocence. They did not know what evil was. But because of this, they could not progress. If we don’t know bitter we cannot enjoy sweet. If we know no sin we cannot know goodness. There must be opposition in all things, and in order for mankind to progress, opposition had to be introduced, and therefore the Fall was needed.

With the Fall came sickness, death, and sin. But because of this we can enjoy health, life, and righteousness. Because of the misery we can know the joy. I know that the Fall was part of God’s plan for us. Adam and Eve fell that we might be happy and progress to everlasting life with God and our families.

Advantage in the World to Come

A good education is something that everyone should aspire to. It’s a wise piece of advice that we’re told over and over again, most often by our elders (the old kind, not the white shirts and name tags kind). But what kind of education is worth our time? What knowledge should we be most aspiring to gain? Modern revelation, from the prophet Joseph Smith, gives us an insight to the role knowledge plays in the life to come,

Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection. And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come. (Doctrine and Covenants 130:18-19)

We can’t take our possession with us to the grave. . . . Well, I suppose we could, but they would just disintegrate with our bodies. What we can take, however, is our knowledge, what’s in our hearts and minds. The wisdom we gain through our experiences and the knowledge of the gospel of Jesus Christ will forever remain with us.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with attaining worldly knowledge. We learn in the Book of Mormon that “to be learned is good if [we] hearken unto the counsels of God.” (2 Nephi 9:29)

So long as we put God first and follow His commandments, our learning and education will be for our benefit, and it will rise with us when our spirits and our bodies are reunited in the resurrection. I know this is true. What we put into our hearts and minds is what will be worth the most to us, now and after we pass from this life.

The Story of Our Salvation

In this life, each of us has a role to fulfill. We were sent here on Earth to gain a physical body, be tested, and eventually return to live with our Heavenly Father, with our families, through reliance upon the Savior Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice. Our individual roles all play a part in God’s eternal plan, the Plan of Salvation.

These roles in our lives are a lot like characters’ roles in a story. Let’s take one of my favorite movies as an example, Lady in the Water. This movie is about a handyman at an apartment complex, Cleveland, who finds a water nymph, Story, in the courtyard pool. Story came from the “blue world” to deliver a message to a writer in the apartments. After she completes her mission, she needs to return home, back to the blue world. In order for this to happen, there need to be certain people present, each with a specific role. Cleveland does his best to find the people to fulfill the roles, all of which live within the apartment building.

Coming here to Earth, we each have duties to perform. There are tasks that only you can do, and people that only you can affect. Thankfully, God did not send us here blind. Through His love, he has given us prophets and apostles and His word through the scriptures. In this way, we can learn who we are and what our role is in life.

In the end of the movie, the roles are fulfilled and Story is able to return home. When we fulfill our roles, we are helping each other to return home to God.

We are here for a reason! To learn more about where you came from, why you’re here, and where you’re going, click on the link in the first paragraph.

We Had A Hard Time

I’m going to be a little lazy today and just post a video. 🙂 It’s a good one though. If you’re unfamiliar with these videos, I strongly encourage you to visit the MormonMessages channel on youtube and watch some of the videos. This is one of my favorites.

Just as Elder Cook says, this life isn’t always easy. More often than not, it’s pretty difficult. But it’s supposed to be. It’s a test after all, so why should it be a free ride? This is why we have the Savior Jesus Christ. In every situation, He suffered the greater burden. Our sins, sorrows, and pains have been placed on His shoulders. All He asks is that we do our best to carry what we can, and He’ll carry the rest.

I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior and Redeemer. I’m grateful to know that through Him my burdens can be made light. I’m grateful to know that through every trial I face, there is One who understands the feeling completely.

I know that I can do a better job of putting the Savior first in my life. I invite you to do the same. Take His yoke upon you, learn of Him, and share His love with others. We will find peace. We will find comfort. We will find rest.

Lehi’s Vision

The account in the Book of Mormon known as Lehi’s Vision or Lehi’s Dream is well-known among Latter-day Saints. In it, the prophet Lehi sees the tree of life and, with the help of an iron rod (which symbolizes the word of God) leading to the tree, approaches and eats of the fruit of the tree. When he looks around, he sees his family and beckons them to come and eat the fruit as well. All of them do except for his two oldest sons Laman and Lemuel.

If you are unfamiliar with this story, I encourage you to read the full account. Here’s a link for your convenience.

I’ll take a small section of the vision, which Lehi is giving to his children:

And as I partook of the fruit thereof it filled my soul with exceedingly great joy; wherefore, I began to be desirous that my family should partake of it also; for I knew that it was desirable above all other fruit.

And as I cast my eyes round about, that perhaps I might discover my family also, I beheld a river of water; and it ran along, and it was near the tree of which I was partaking the fruit.

And I looked to behold from whence it came; and I saw the head thereof a little way off; and at the head thereof I beheld your mother Sariah, and Sam, and Nephi; and they stood as if they knew not whither they should go.

And it came to pass that I beckoned unto them; and I also did say unto them with a loud voice that they should come unto me, and partake of the fruit, which was desirable above all other fruit.

And it came to pass that they did come unto me and partake of the fruit also.

Lehi’s son, Nephi, was an exceptional young man that grew to become the second prophet in the Book of Mormon, after his father Lehi. He knew God, he knew Jesus Christ and the power of His atonement, and he knew and recognized the Holy Spirit. Something I’d like to note, however, is that in Lehi’s vision Nephi does not take the fruit himself. It was given to him by his father.

Just like our Heavenly Father is the source of all wisdom and truth, our earthly parents are a source of wisdom. We do not gain knowledge and experience in an instant. It must be taught to us. Parents have the sacred responsibility in raising their children in righteousness and truth, in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The very first verse in the Book of Mormon begins,

I, Nephi, having been born of goodly parents, therefore I was taught somewhat in all the learning of my father;

Nephi was taught all he knew by his father and mother, and he makes sure the reader understands that fact right off the bat. I had, and still have, the great blessing of being raised by parents that taught me about Jesus Christ and His gospel. I know that the knowledge and understanding I have could not have come without their guidance, wisdom, and experience. I know that the role of a father and mother in a child’s life is a sacred commission from God.


God is Love

Why did God create us? Why did He create this earth? Why did Christ give His life for us? The purpose of this life is to return to live with God as eternal families, but again, why? The answer is profound, yet simple. Love.

Christ gave us a commandment to love one another,

John 13:34-35

A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

Showing love to others is how others can know that we are disciples of Christ, and that He has wrought a change in our hearts through His atoning sacrifice. So how do we show forth this love?

1 John 3:16-18 reads,

Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.

Showing love in word, or in tongue, is not a bad thing, but we all know that actions speak louder than words. In addition to showing our love through kind words, we show it best through our actions. In the next chapter, we read in verses 7 and 8,

Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

Everything that God and Jesus Christ have done for us is out of love. We have this earth because They love us. We have family and friends because They love us. We have the Atonement because They love us. We have the opportunity to live with Them again eternally and with our families because They love us. If we desire to understand our Heavenly Father, we must first understand love.

I testify that our Father in Heaven is a God of love. I know that He loves us. I know that our Savior Jesus Christ loves us too. I know that to grow closer to God and Christ is to grow closer to each other.

We are the children of God.

Romans 8:16

The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.

It is a blessing for me to know that I am a child of God. Understanding this divine relationship with our Creator is key to receiving His strength and being comforted by His love. God is indeed our literal Father. Just as we have parents on the Earth, He is the Father of our Spirits. He loves and cares for us just as a nurturing parent watches over a child.

When we pray, we are not sending out hopes and wishes to some indifferent being that may or may not talk back. When we pray, we are talking one on one with our Father. He listens and He cares, and I know that He answers our prayers and wants to bless us.

Matthew 7: 7-11

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

We are imperfect beings, often prone to selfishness and envy, yet we know how to give good gifts. Our Father in Heaven is perfect in every way. His love for us is perfect. If we can give good gifts, surely He will bless us in ways we can’t even imagine. I know this to be true. I know that our Heavenly Father loves each of us more than we can even think to comprehend. Having this understanding has been a great comfort and a great strength to me throughout my life. I know that when I kneel down to pray, my Father in Heaven is listening with the intentions and concerns of a loving parent.

If you are feeling distanced from God, remember that He is your Father and wants nothing more than to pour down blessings upon you. We simply need to show our faith and love for Him, submitting ourselves humbly to Him as a child. I can promise anyone who is reading this that they can know of God’s love for them through sincere, faithful prayer. He is our Father. Tell Him you love Him. You will be blessed with strength and peace.