Thursday, February 24, 2011


 It’s so simple. “Have ye inquired of the Lord?” These are the words Nephi used when his brothers told him they couldn’t understand the words things he taught them. I believe they are also the words the Lord would use with us when we have questions about guidance and direction in our lives. Think about all the great questions you may have at this moment in your lives. 

 “Is the Church true?” 
 “Is the Book of Mormon the word of God?” 
 “Does God know me?” 
 “Does God have a purpose for my life?” 
 “Should I serve a full-time mission?” 
 “What do I need to do to find peace and happiness?” 
 “Should I see this PG-13 movie, or should I see something else, instead?” 
 “Should I be listening to this music?” 
 “How can I help my friend through their trial?” 
 “How can I have a better relationship with my parents?” 
 “Will Heavenly Father forgive me for a mistake I’ve made?”
 “How can I be a better example to my friends and family?” 
 “What should I do to strengthen my testimony?”

The list can go on and on. We all have so many questions about how we should best live our lives each day. Perhaps Nephi wasn’t just talking to his brothers, maybe he was really talking to each of us, today. “Have ye inquired of the Lord?”
I’ve actually heard some people say that they didn’t think the Lord cared about asking him certain things. I fully believe that he cares about everything about us. Some may ask, “Where should we pray and what should we pray for?” I believe Amulek teaches us a great example when he teaches the Zoramites in Alma 34 He says, starting with verse 17:

   17 Therefore may God grant unto you, my brethren, that ye may begin to exercise your faith unto repentance, that ye begin to call upon his holy name, that he would have mercy upon you;
   18 Yea, cry unto him for mercy; for he is mighty to save.
   19 Yea, humble yourselves, and continue in prayer unto him.
   20 Cry unto him when ye are in your fields, yea, over all your flocks.
   21 Cry unto him in your houses, yea, over all your household, both morning, mid-day, and evening.
   22 Yea, cry unto him against the power of your enemies.
   23 Yea, cry unto him against the devil, who is an enemy to all righteousness.
   24 Cry unto him over the crops of your fields, that ye may prosper in them.
   25 Cry over the flocks of your fields, that they may increase.
   26 But this is not all; ye must pour out your souls in your closets, and your secret places, and 
in your wilderness.
   27 Yea, and when you do not cry unto the Lord, let your hearts be full, drawn out in prayer unto him continually for your welfare, and also for the welfare of those who are around you.

I just love that our Heavenly Father allows us to speak with him through prayer, no matter where we are. He is always available. There is never a busy signal. We are never out of range and we never have to say, “Can you hear me now?” One of the greatest blessings we have is the understanding that God loves us; He listens to us; and He answers our prayers. So, if you have questions about your life, I would ask you like Nephi asked his brothers, “Have ye inquired of the Lord?"

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


“And blessed are they who shall seek to bring forth my Zion at that day, for they shall have the gift and the power of the Holy Ghost; and if they endure unto the end they shall be lifted up at the last day.”

I’ve always loved this scripture because it was a vision Nephi saw of our day 2,600 years ago.  Think about that … Nephi saw the great work of the restoration of the gospel all those years ago and recorded it so we could know it’s part of the Lord’s great plan. 

When I was a missionary in England in the mid-1970’s I thought this scripture applied just to missionaries.  But since then I have come to understand that it applies to each of us if we are working on building up the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, today.  So, how do we “seek to bring forth Zion?”  We do it by inviting others to learn of the gospel and be baptized into the Church.  We do it by inviting the less-active in our wards and stake to join with us as we worship, partake of the sacrament, and attend church together.  We do it by serving faithfully in our callings, no matter how large or small.  We do it by sharing our testimonies of how the gospel blesses our lives.  We do it by setting examples for our friends and families of righteous living.  We do it by following the prophet.  We do it by becoming of “one heart and one mind” while we knit our hearts to the Savior.  Those who do these things are the ones Nephi saw in his vision seeking “to bring forth my Zion at that day.” 

What a great responsibility we have to share the gospel and build the kingdom.  Now some of you may have had, are having, or will have the opportunity to serve in a class or quorum presidency … Nephi saw those of you who strived to magnify your callings and to bless the members of your class or quorum.  You are the ones he gave the promise and blessing … “For they shall have the gift and the power of the Holy Ghost.” 

Is there a better reward than having both “the gift and the power of the Holy Ghost?”  You’ve received the gift of the Holy Ghost at your confirmation, but notice Nephi also promised the “power” of the Holy Ghost in your life.  I believe the power of the Holy Ghost is to be impressed to know who to help and when.  I believe the power of the Holy Ghost gives you inspiration to seek out certain individuals at times when they need your influence.  I believe the power of the Holy Ghost allows you to be an instrument in the Lord’s hands in blessing others.  Can you imagine the good you will do with this power in building the Lord’s kingdom?  I pray we will all strive to be a part of Nephi’s prophesy and “bring forth Zion.”  I promise, like Nephi of old, that as we do so we’ll be blessed with the “power of the Holy Ghost.”

Friday, February 11, 2011


I want to let you in on a little secret about life.  Think about your life for a moment.   Whether you’re 12, or 16, or 19, or 25, or 55 (like I am), you’re always going to face situations where you need the guidance of the Lord.  Think about the ages of about 18-26 for example.  Most young people of that age will decide if they’re going to serve a mission, who they’ll date, who they’ll marry, where they’ll continue their education, what they’ll do for a profession, where they’ll live and how they’ll live their lives.  WOW!  Now that’s a lot of important decisions.  And those are not decisions you want to get wrong.  So here’s my little secret for you … actually, it’s the Lord’s, and, truth be told, it isn’t even a secret.

“For he that diligently seeketh shall find; and the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto them, by the power of the Holy Ghost.”

Now you may ask, “What are the mysteries?”  Well, I believe in many cases it’s the answers to those questions and decisions I’ve mentioned.  I believe the answer to finding the deepest and most meaningful happiness is to seek the Lord with all your heart.  I can tell you from personal experience that when I’m searching for direction or guidance I can feel confident that he will help me know the answer by the power of the Holy Ghost.

I’ve had a lot of young people ask me, “How do you know if it’s the Lord answering your prayers, or if it’s just your own thoughts.  I have a one word answer, …  practice!  That’s right, I believe it takes practice to know if it’s the Lord giving you answers through the Holy Ghost.  That’s why it’s so important to learn to pray and listen when you are young.  That’s why I believe it’s so important to read the Book of Mormon and ask the Lord if you can know through the Holy Ghost if it’s true and why it’s important to ask Heavenly Father if His son, Jesus Christ, is the Savior of the world and our redeemer. That’s why I believe it’s important to pray to know if the Church is true and praying to know if Joseph Smith and Thomas S. Monson are true prophets.   As you receive your answers to these basic truths in your younger years you will begin to feel how the spirit works in your life.  You’ll begin to know and understand the promptings the Spirit is giving you.  As you come to understand and recognize these feelings you will have the assurance that they are from the Lord.  I believe the more you feel the Spirit’s guidance the more you recognize it.   This will be a key ingredient to a successful and happy life.  I know the Lord loves us enough to send the Holy Ghost to give us guidance.  It’s one of the greatest blessings of being a member of the Church … to have the gift of the Holy Ghost in your life.  I want you to know that every time I read the Book of Mormon with a sincere and humble heart I feel the promptings of the Spirit reminding me of the great truth it contains.  I have the witness of the Holy Ghost that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world and my personal redeemer.  Please, please, ponder and pray as you read the Book of Mormon.  As you do, I promise you’ll have spiritual feelings you’ll soon recognize as the promptings and guidance of the Holy Ghost in your life.  When you know, through practice and experience, those promptings are from the Holy Ghost you can be assured that you are being guided by the Lord, Himself … and that’s very cool.  So, now you know the secret.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


This scripture always reminds me that the Lord will answer our prayers – not always in the way we ask, but in the way that will be best for us.  Think about the situation Nephi found himself in at this moment.   He was in the wilderness with his brothers when the Lord impressed upon him the need to tell his brothers that if they were to return to Jerusalem they would perish just like those who were there.  Now, because their hearts were hard, his brothers were angry with Nephi and bound him with “cords” so tightly that he couldn’t escape.  Their plan was to leave him in the wilderness so the beasts could kill him.  What a helpless feeling he must have had.  He did what I believe any of us would do in this situation – he prayed to the Lord for help.  It’s recorded like this:

“But it came to pass that I prayed unto the Lord, saying; O Lord, according to my faith which is in thee, wilt thou deliver me from the hands of my brethren; yea, even give me strength that I may burst these bands with which I am bound.”

Then comes the part that I think can teach us all a great lesson.  Nephi records:

“And it came to pass that when I had said these words, behold, the bands were loosed from off my hands and feet and I stood before my brethren, and I spake unto them again.”

Nephi prayed that he would have the strength to burst the bands from his hands and feet.  But the Lord didn’t answer Nephi in the exact manner that he asked.  Instead, the Lord loosened the bands so Nephi could gain his freedom.  I think the great lesson here is that the Lord doesn’t always answer our prayers in the exact way in which we ask, but he will answer them in the way that will be the greatest blessing to us in our situation. 
I remember years ago when we were on a film shoot for the Church.  It was overcast and not a pretty day for filming.  I prayed and prayed that the sun would come out so we could have the “perfect” shot.  But guess what?  The day never cleared up.  It remained overcast the entire time.  I was disappointed, thinking our shoot wouldn’t be as good as it should have been if the Lord had “really answered my prayers.”  The next day we looked at the scenes we had shot the day before.  To my surprise the shot was gorgeous.  Not that there was sun shining ... because there wasn’t.  But because of the overcast sky the colors in the shot were muted and softened and it made the scene more beautiful than I had imagined it could be.  In other words, the Lord answered my prayers in the way that was best, not in the way I asked.  I’ve found that to be the case in so many events in my life.  The Lord always knows best and He knows how we will be best blessed by His love.  So next time you feel that the Lord isn’t answering your prayers take a moment and ask yourself if He’s really just answering them in a different, but better way.  I promise, if you will, you’ll notice His influence even more in your life.

Friday, February 4, 2011

ROYAL DESCENT – I Nephi 5:14

Today I’d like to highlight a scripture I believe most of you probably didn’t pay too much attention to as you read it.  But as I have thought about this verse, I believe it applies to everything we do.  It reads:

“ And it came to pass that my father, Lehi, also found upon the plates of brass … that he was a descendant of Joseph who was the son of Jacob, who was sold into Egypt and who was preserved by the hand of the Lord, that he might preserve his father, Jacob, and all his household from perishing with famine.”

The thing about this scripture that I believe is so important is that Lehi found he was related to “Royalty.”   His lineage came from Joseph of Egypt. Can you imagine how you would feel to know that you were related directly to a man of such stature?  Joseph – who was sold into Egypt by his rebellious brothers – who worked his way up to become a trusted and valuable aide to Potipher, one of the most wealthy and powerful men of his day, only to be cast falsely into prison – who interpreted Pharaoh’s dream – who became the #2 leader in all of Egypt – who became an honored prophet - and who never lost his love for the Lord or for his family.  What an honor to be related to such a man.  How would that knowledge impact the way you acted in your life?  I believe it would be a great motivator to strive to be just like he was … to live your life as he lived his life.  By doing so you would honor him.
Well, I also believe the message of the Book of Mormon helps us to understand that we, too, have royal ancestry.  We are the spirit daughters and sons of our loving Heavenly Father.    I love repeating with the young women when they stand and recite their theme.  The very first words are;  “We are daughters of our Heavenly Father who loves us and we love him.”  The Book of Mormon also teaches us that because of the Savior’s atonement we are “spiritually begotten” of Him and “have become his sons and his daughters.”  (Mosiah 5:7)  Can you imagine what kind of heritage you have?  Because of this divine heritage it becomes our responsibility to honor the Heavenly Father and His Son.  We do this by way we live our lives each day.  Do we treat others as they would want us to?  Do we keep our thoughts clean as they have asked?  Do we strive to know and follow them?  I believe if we truly understand what it means to come from such divine and royal heritage we will do everything in our power to honor that heritage by living as our Heavenly Father and the Savior ask.   This scripture reminds me to try harder to honor my spiritual heritage.  I hope you will, too.