Wednesday, March 16, 2011


We have a loving Heavenly Father who cares about and knows each and every one of us. We are His children. We lived with Him as spirits before we ever came to this earth. We agreed upon a plan developed and led by our Heavenly Father and our brother Jesus Christ that would allow us to come to an earth. On this earth we are able to gain a body and experience. Our goal in this life is to live our lives in the best way that we can so that we can return to live with our Heavenly Father again.

Our lives are difficult, challenging, and at times disappointing. We will make mistakes in this life but God has provided a way for us to correct these wrongs through a process called repentance. The Atonement of Christ (His suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane, His death on the cross, and His resurrection) is what makes repentance possible. Through the Atonement we are able to access Christ's grace in our lives so that through Him and His mercy we can repent of our sins and shortcomings.

The 5 steps to repentance are A, B, C, C, and D. They are: 1) Acknowledge (that you have sinned). 2) Be sorry for what you have done. 3) Confess your sin to the proper authority (most confession is made to our Heavenly Father in prayer). 4) Correct wrongs that you have made. 5) Don't do it again. Once we go through this process and we feel the Spirit working through us we can be assured that we have been cleansed of our sins."Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool" (Isaiah 1: 18).  Again, all of this is only possible through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

There is an underlying principle within the repentance process that is absolutely critical. I am talking about forgiveness. In order to gain true repentance there MUST be forgiveness.

It is clear and obvious that we must confess our sins to God and seek forgiveness from Him but one thing that is often forgotten is that we must confess our sins and seek forgiveness from those who we have wronged. For example...if we have cheated on a test then must seek forgiveness from our teacher and perhaps even our classmates on top of seeking forgiveness from God. We must make right what we have wronged. Completely. This means that if we have told a lie or have stolen something then we must tell the truth and pay for/return what we have previously stolen. This is all a part of the "Correct wrongs that you have made" step in the repentance process.

"Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more" (Doctrine and Covenants 58: 42). Even though I have read this scripture many times I still have struggled to forgive MYSELF. I have indeed made mistakes in my life and I have sought forgiveness through repentance but if I continue to live in darkness and continue to doubt myself then I am only doubting Jesus Christ. If we have gone through the steps of repentance then we have no need to second guess ourselves. If we do that then we are second guessing the Savior. He loves us so much that He suffered for us. He trusts us so much that he provided repentance for us to return and be with Him and our Father. Repentance is real. Repentance is pure. Repentance is possible. In my life I have witnessed and experienced sin. I also have witnessed and experienced forgiveness. There is nothing more beautiful as being cleansed through Jesus Christ. A prophet in the Book of Mormon, Alma, described to his son the contrast of guilt and joy before and after the Atonement had brought repentance into his life. He said, "Yea, I say unto you, my son, that there could be nothing so exquisite and so bitter as were my pains. Yea, and again I say unto you, my son, that on the other hand, there can be nothing so exquisite and sweet as was my joy" (Alma 36: 21).

One other thing that we must do is forgive others. Anger, hatred, and grudges are all terrible things! They slow down other people's repentance processes. There are those out there that need us to forgive them for wrongs that they have done unto us. I believe that this is something that all of us can work on a little bit harder. We must be kind to everyone. The Savior taught that we must even love our enemies. He said, "But behold I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them who despitefully use you and persecute you" (Matthew 5: 44).

I know that the Savior's Atonement is real. I know that His grace is sufficient for all of us after we do our part and repent. I love Jesus Christ and it is a privilege to represent Him and His church.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Spirit of Fear

Hey! Being out here on my mission I have learned so many things. But there is one thing that has been pressing on my mind lately and I feel that I should share it.

There are influences all around us. Good and bad. It is up to us to choose what we want to focus on and how we want to react. Our loving Heavenly Father has given us the Holy Ghost to inspire and prompt us to do what is right. Everything that is good is of God. On the flip side...everything that is evil is of the devil. God gives us good and happy feelings. "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance..." (Galatians 5: 22-23). However, the spirit of Satan is the polar opposite of these words found in the New Testamant. The fruit of Satan's spirit is hate, depression, chaos, greed, aggressiveness, evil, doubt, pride, wildness. God does not give us feelings of doubt, hate, malice, etc. Things truly are light and dark. Good feelings are of God. Bad feelings are of the devil. "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind" (2 Timothy 1: 7). Through faith in Jesus Christ we develop faith in ourselves and our fellowmen. This allows our hearts to soften and to love. We will be given a sound mind and will receive power. Satan does NOT want this to happen. He will do anything to prevent this. He prevents it through fear.

My senior year of high school we were having a discussion on fear in my english class. A fellow classmate asked the question, "what is fear"? I thought about this as we discussed the topic and have thought about it since. Fear is the absence of faith. No one portrays the Satan's use of fear better than The Joker played by Heath Ledger in the classic movie, The Dark Knight. If you remember...The Joker is wreaking havoc on Gotham City. He isn't doing this through mass murders or nuclear bombs but he is doing it through FEAR. Doubt and fear are opposed to faith. The Joker describes himself as an agent of chaos and anarchy. He puts fear into the city and then the fear spreads until the entire city is in total chaos. They almost destroy themselves until hope and trust is re-introduced. From this, we can learn that if we fill ourselves with fear then it will spread to others and destruction may follow. We also can learn that we can save ourselves from fear with hope, faith, trust, and love.

Satan will do anything to bring us down. He will introduce fear and then influence us to a point where we are in a chaotic state. Fear leads to sin. Sin leads to despair. Despair IS chaos. Satan's influence is far reaching. He is extending his grasp to more and more areas and is bringing down more and more of us. We must fight this. The best way to combat Satan is to avoid him altogether. We must trust in our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. That leads us to trust in ourselves and help us be more confident.

One way that Satan destroys lives is through fear of falling down the social ladder. As we trust in God and put our struggles in the Lord's hands then we can be confident in ourselves to overcome the temptations that Satan throws at us. We can be strong when Satan tries to trick us through intimidation before a sports game in high school or a big test. We can stand tall when Satan tries to deceive us through peer pressure to drink alcohol, do drugs, live an immoral life, etc. We are strong (much stronger than Satan)! The devil tries to make us think that we are weaker than we really are. He wants us to be afraid and abandon hope. Satan can even influence us through scary movies. My counsel is...don't watch them! When we willingly subject ourselves to fear we fall prey to Satan.

When we surround ourselves with a good environment we are putting an armor of protection around us. We must read our scriptures, pray always, and be humble. Anything is possible if we have faith (Moroni 7: 33). We can and will win the battle against fear and Satan as long as we trust in God and rely on the Lord. Fight the spirit of fear with the Spirit of Light.