To give in order to gain – the role of questions

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So I’m currently taking the summer version of Business and Professional speech.

Since personal blogs generally intend to promote personal recommendations – I definitely promote this course with Prof. Wood, if anyone is in the Central Texas area.

As a result of incredible teaching and helpful application, during the class I made a huge connection.

I learned that some types of language make a speaker sound less powerful.

On that list of less powerful speech, the book lists as number 5 – questions.

It says in the book even a single type of powerless speech mannerism can make a person appear less authoritative.

Interesting thing then – how God wills that we ask Him. He wills that we ask Him for anything, especially something related to the decision making process. (James 1:5)

Then why doesn’t anybody really want to? I mean following the idea that faith gives us, this “God-guy” knows everything. Why don’t we ask? (Of course I don’t write in irreverence, more in an under the sun point if view if you will)

And as I considered what the class was teaching me, I realized something really important:

We have to literally step down in communcation, give up the power of speech inherit in us, to allow someone else (even God) control over the understanding element in our lives.

It’s less powerful to ask questions. And who in this postmodern world of distrust of authority figures wants to be less powerful?

It makes sense how the repentant, the lowly, the meek, all exhibit one of the hardest qualities in human existence: humility.

How did they start? With less powerful speech. They gave their power to communicate to someone else.

They started with a question.

Can you?

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From One Ancestor To Another – Temple Blessings

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There are moments in life that defy human speech and words to describe them.

Moments such as the birth of a long awaited family member; a thank you hug for a gift, no matter how much it cost; a chance to truly appreciate a loved one; exist beyond the threshold of human description.

At times the best we can do is weep with these powerful emotions inside of us. Tears of joy and gratitude fall where words cannot go.

I had one of those moments today.

I had a chance to perform the endowment ordinance for my deceased grandfather. Through what has taken place, my grandfather has received a secured place at the presence of God, and if he so chooses, he can accept the gospel and receive that secured place as his own.

If it wasn’t for my paternal fourth great grandfather, who received the gospel lessons from Parley P. Pratt, my maternal grandfather would have had to go through a longer waiting period to receive the blessings offered through Christ.

I met my grandfather when I was a baby. I don’t remember it at all. But what I can appreciate is the sacrifices he made to give my mother the life opportunies she had. I’m grateful to him for that.

But in any other faith, because he didn’t accept Jesus Christ in this life, his eternal destiny was fixed at suffering.

But according to the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, it’s actually entirely and mercifully different. The truth declares those who heard not the message STILL HAS A CHANCE.

Luke 15 is a great illustration. I read it in the temple and wept, moved beyond words.

I’m so thankful for having had this opportunity to transfer the blessings of one ancestor to another. I’m so thankful for the mercy of God through His beloved son Jesus Christ.

It’s never too late for anyone.

– Jeremy Unitt

A MM&B Night – Moon, Mars, and Burglars

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Two blog posts in one day? I must be down with the flu or something. Or two consecutive life changing events inspired by gospel understanding principles makes this a special occasion.

I had the chance to catch the lunar eclipse that took place where I live at 2 A.M.

And almost catch a thief in the process of breaking and entering.

My sister and I had made an early decision to see the first total lunar eclipse for this year, and there was a special bonus because it happened the same night as the closest approach of Mars to Earth in years.

Lunar eclipses occur when the moon is full and passes through part or all of the Earth’s shadow.

So the Red Planet and Blood Moon shone together. It was absolutely breathtaking. A powerful reminder of the wonders and marvels that this creation that was made specifically for us, is capable for us.

Don’t you know that? All these wonderful events, all these special phenomena that take place on the face, and outside the face of this earth, is specifically made for us. How special is that?

Sadly enough, as marvelous as it was, it didn’t instill the reverence that it has in the heart of one man I saw that same night.

After I had made several attempts to get my sister’s glasses from her room, she reported to me the suspicious appearance of a man who was walking down the street. I believed it was a mere runner or perhaps another stargazer, such as ourselves.

But as I was taking photos, she said softly, “there he is again.”

And I looked, stopping dead in my tracks.

The man was crouched, weaving in between the pockets of darkness that were made by the neighbor’s car off of the porch light, attempting to either break into the vehicle, or the house itself.

It didn’t take long for the both of us to figure out what was going on. And attempting my very best to not terrify my sister (I have no images to hold, I was truly fearful) I called 911 and explained the situation.

The man dressed in black took off running before the cops came to find him. And we were pretty upset.

But nothing feels better than to hear a police officer thank you, and tell you that you just stopped a burglary.

Lessons from this?

First, trust in the Lord, and act. If you see something going on that shouldn’t be happening, then do what you can to fix it. This includes calling in on suspicious activity. Each and every single one of us is engaged in a good cause, to better this society. One of those ways is allowing those who descend to the pits of criminal activity to find penance and redeem themselves by paying in full.

Second, don’t attempt a robbery during an astronomical event. Chances are, there will be people watching.

  • Jeremy Unitt

Reading the Scriptures – No Pain NO GAIN (#8PagesADay)

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Throughout the ages of the world it has been common instruction from leaders of the Church to encourage us to read our scriptures.

Frankly, however, it’s not the easiest thing.

I love reading my scriptures. I set the goal to do so daily. In fact, there’s a current challenge I was issued and have issued, to read the Book of Mormon 8 pages a day, to prepare and be finished by conference.

(#8PagesADay on Facebook)

But even I struggle with it, because for one reason or another, focusing on the word of God takes some concentrated effort. 

And it’s gotten me to think, why is it that the best things in life are the hardest:

Why is it so gross to be healthy?

Why does it hurt to exercise?

Why is it so expensive to save energy? 

And it goes for the word of God as well. So many people now and days struggle with finding the time to just sit down and ponder over a passage of inspired text, perhaps the greatest place they could go for answers to their question. They are just too busy for that.

On Facebook, a young man posted that his faith was waning and his trust in God weakening. When concerned readers posted suggestions to help this young man restore his faith, the most suggested comment was reading the scriptures.

His reply: I don’t understand them.

I felt a desire to cry when I read that. From that I wanted to find out what exactly is the reason the best books in existence – so diligently prepared for us in this era of confusion and craziness, sealed with the blood of martyrdom, and carried and trusted upon from generation to generation – is just so hard to read?

I found this quote a while back that captured my attention: 

One must prospect through and dig into the scriptures like a miner searching for precious metal. Scattered here and there are nuggets, some pure, and some alloyed with other doctrines. Occasionally one strikes a rich vein which will yield all that you are willing to earn, for the scriptures do not explain nor interpret themselves.

I’ve never mined before. I did a dig for fossils back when I was like 8, and that was some extensive work. I remember the digging through sand and sifting with my little pail, and everytime I bagged a fossil, despite all the hard labor to get it, I found myself gripped by the most fascinating and special feeling of success as if I unearthed some lost treasure worth millions. Even if it was a simple ammonite.

Makes me think back to those times when I played The Legend of Zelda and I would have Link reach into the treasure chest full of light and pull out something he really needed. And his face was always one of wonder. 

Now that was sand, and it was hard work. I could only imagine earth. Or the infinite patience required for panning through rivers. 

And as I thought about it, I found myself led to consider one of the more earlier verses of “hard work” we have in the scriptures. 

Cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread

Cursed shall be the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life. Thorns also, and thistles shall it bring forth to thee, and thou shalt eat the herb of the field. By the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread

Sorrow? Cursed? That’s all sort of depressing isn’t it? How the good things in life are hard?

Well, sorrow is the English noun that was used to describe the Hebrew word atsav, meaning to labor, toil, sweat, do something very hard.

We also have to remember this:

The record says “the ground” was cursed, not Adam. Then the Lord added “for thy sake.” This means for his benefit; also for your benefit and mine.

The laws of this mortal sphere are established by a just and loving God, and are not intended to be vengeful acts of disappointment. 

Like one leader presiding over the mission that includes my town said:

It’s the hard that makes it great! 

It’s been scientifically proven that the human body is better able to retain healthy organs and functions, and a very strong immune system, when patterns of stress-recovery such as hard work is experienced. Work is essential to physical health, so why is the spirit any different? As it has been revealed in the truths of the Restoration:

There is no such thing as immaterial matter. All spirit is matter, but it is more fine or pure.

Spiritual health comes from spiritual hard work. I feel that’s why reading the scriptures is hard. It’s like trying to punch through a wall to get to the other side where you know there’s something good for you waiting. 

Sure it’s going to hurt, but the healing process is so much more glorious, even as you hold that thing you were diligently looking for in your protective grasp – the answer to your most profound questions. And once your spirit is healed, through that stress-recovery process (you could call that prayer or partaking of the sacrament), it’s so much stronger for the harder things that might come. 

So, after you read this post, do your spirit a favor and set a reading schedule. You can participate in the current one right now, or set one that works better to your needs.

If you agree with me, share this post with your friends with the phrase: PUNCH A WALL, GET A TREASURE.

That might get them interested. 

Also, hashtag your posts! I want to see the conversations going on about the 8 Pages A Day Challenge! 

Comment, like, follow, get excited, read the scriptures! 

– Jeremy Unitt

P.S. Coffee is NOT good for you. Scriptures are a better dieting choice tenfold.

Footnotes

  • First Quote: Boyd K. Packer, A Tribute to Women – Ensign July 1989
  • Second Quote: Genesis 3:17-19 and Moses 4:23-25 Cross Reference – Bible with Restoration Scripture
  • Third Quote: Eldred G. Smith, Opposition in Order to Strengthen Us – Ensign October 1973
  • Fourth Quote: President Thurston, How to Prepare For A Mission – Texas Dallas-Fort Worth Mission July 2007 – July 2010
  • Fifth Quote: D&C 131:7

Damages of Misunderstanding: The Pope Francis Fraud

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Pope Francis Condemns Racism And Declares That “All Religions Are True” At Historic Third Vatican Council.

Today, I came across a news post on my Home feed that was shared with two friends of mine.

This link was in Spanish, and was titled “No hay fuego en el infierno; Adán y Eva no son reales”, expone el Papa Francisco. on the Yucatán Hoy news webpage.

The story on the Yucatán Hoy page was published on the 10th, Friday of last week, and a member of my faith posted it on Tuesday, which led to 3 shares, 2 of those shares ended up on my wall post today. I then, without the slightest attempt to verify the information, shared it with a friend of mine, and told my Dad about it over the phone.

Can you see how nightmarish a misunderstanding can become through today’s capacity to share information?

The original post comes from another WordPress user running a site called Diversity Chronicle, who posted the article December 5, 2013. I have put the original post for the sake of readers who want to read the original account. There’s a disclaimer on the blog, saying that the content on the site is largely satirical. The blogger says:

I created this blog for my own personal amusement.

But at what cost? He may not have had any intentions to promote misunderstanding. But his blog post went big and all of December was in a uproar till the Vatican had a chance to silence it January 13th.

That was about a month ago, and the word is still being cycled through the internet about the misunderstanding.  

Here’s what the Vatican News page posted on it:

Dear friends, we have been notified by many readers that there are stories currently circulating all over the Internet spreading statements by Pope Francis with regard to a number of issues, concerning the Bible’s content, the relations between religions, the renewal of the Church’s doctrine, and even the calling of an alleged “Third Vatican Council”, which are FALSE. These statements were spread by unknown sources. Therefore, we would like to alert all readers to be careful and not to trust too soon news about the Pope that are not from the Vatican.

One of the reasons my blog was designed was to share light about the concepts of the Latter-Day Saint faith, so those who come across misunderstandings can come here and read and be enlightened rather than confused.

That doesn’t mean I’ll let misunderstandings about other faiths or anything else continue in circulation.

This reminds me of what Barack Obama recently said about blogging:

I am concerned that if the direction of the news is all blogosphere, all opinions, with no serious fact-checking, no serious attempts to put stories in context, that what you will end up getting is people shouting at each other across the void but not a lot of mutual understanding.

I ask you all as readers, to take this negative energy that is building up from blogging, and turn this new information sharing activity, this chance to be more open and share our lives with each other and connect and our digital fingerprints which have such lasting effects on our soul, and use it to build up goodness and light on all subjects.

Pope Francis did not say anything that was mentioned in that satirical post. But who’s to say the amount of damage upon a person’s faith it may have created?

On a Catholic forum page I visited I found these two thought-provoking questions I have decided to redirect to my readers. And this goes not just for this story, but for all stories, all faiths. The fact that the LDS faith is so generally misunderstood, those readers that share my belief system will recognize the damages of misunderstanding in their own lives and the lives of others, to include the loss of friends and family support, ridicule and shame.

So an effort to be more civil and seek more rather than aimlessly post like Obama says, I hope readers of this post will recognize the dangers that come from not checking your sources and discrediting a worldview!

Read these questions, ponder and comment below your thoughts! (From the Catholic Forum, thread link below)

What are some of the ways for us to continue our Apologetics in the face of such obvious distractions designed to confuse, misinform or muddy the waters?

How do we engage social media like Facebook to charitably assist those well-meaning people who do not check facts behind stories before they quote, share or comment on them?

Footnotes

Your Weaknesses An Invitation To Close Friendship? Why Life’s Tough

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Okay, I’ll admit. I’m a bit lazy when I post. But I promise you, it’s less “Man, another post? I don’t want to post!” and more “WHY IS IT ALREADY 10:00 PM!”

Managing my time is unduly one of my greatest challenges. And because of that, I feel prompted to theme my post on that.

My time management lack is but a tiny grain on the enormous list of the many challenges humanity faces. The pessimist may feel prompted to ask: Why is life so hard? Why challenges?

Some are moved to accuse God the Father for these challenges. Saying it’s His fault.

Well, they got one point right, but they see it in the wrong perspective.

In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, we accept an open canon as a source of spiritual nourishment and guidance, the beginning of the open canon in this era opened with the keystone revelation of the Book of Mormon. And in it is written a most poignant and sublime explanation for the reason of challenges.

It comes from the twelfth chapter (my all-time favorite) in the Book of Ether, verse 27. It is quoted below:

And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men who humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then I will make weak things become strong unto them.

Interesting stuff, this voice of the Lord moment to Moroni came when Moroni was expressing the common pattern of most prophet-leaders in the scriptures when they first get started: “How is this possible?”

So the Lord declares where weakness comes from. Closeness to God means a deeper recognition of those parts of us that are in need of improvement. The purpose of the missionaries of the Latter-Day Saint faith is to invite others to come unto Christ. That means the closer you are to Him, the more you are going to see those parts that shouldn’t be there. Or perhaps require your consistent leaning upon Him for help.

I invited a friend of mine to read this verse several times, then pray and ask what is the grand key that leads to the conquering of challenges. He said humility and faith.

Humility implies recognition, gratitude, and understanding the role of dependence upon the Lord. It is an acknowledgement. Faith in this context implies deep abiding trust. Knowing that God will deliver, in the way He knows best, even if its not instantly. it is confidence.

So some readers might ask why. Why would the Lord want me with weaknesses?

Thinking in Facebook terms, did you ever think it may be His personal invitation to you to be His friend?

God loves us so deeply, deeper than we can even fathom or try to express. Don’t you think He wants to be here 24/7, by our side, guiding us?

Weakness has intentions to inspire acknowledgement of true strength and absolute confidence. And I would say, symbolically, it’s a friend request. With a weakness, you have now gained a chance to an automatic spiritual conference, every moment you turn to Him, to help you strengthen your challenge and overcome. His grace is sufficient, meaning that sacrifice He made, covers whatever you are going through, and that counts for everyone. So everyone’s got a friend invitation through their challenges.

Now here’s the top question.

When are you going to press “Add Friend” and make your weaknesses strong?

That’s my day’s injection of goodness and light into cyberspace that can only be found in the restored Church. Share, like or comment please!

– Jeremy Unitt

New Year’s Resolute: Bury Them Deep

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I felt the impression to write out a post based on the traditional resolution concept we share during this special occasion of a new year, but found a little less than wanted words, more stalling till a little bit later, where my inspiration for the post came from a message the missionaries shared with us after dinner. Funny thing is, the message the missionaries shared seemed to tag itself with an earlier photo I shared that appeared on my wall. I’m going to quote that photo now.

Accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what will be.

I shared this with a little personal touch, saying I was guilty for not being able to follow such simple principle in my life. I’ve always been a person that hasn’t had a chance to find personal peace with the mistakes I’ve made. I’ve never been the best at letting go. And the message the missionaries had today was based on that.

It came from the Book of Mormon, the story of a group of people known as the Anti-Nephi-Lehies, who made a mutual promise with God to cease the shedding of blood, and in order to keep their promise, to protect their integrity, they buried their weapons. It’s interesting how the king, named Anti-Nephi-Lehi, describes to his brethren and subjects what they needed to do.

We will hide away our swords, yea, even we will bury them deep in the earth.

Anti-Nephi-Lehi seems to emphasize that last point. I mean, of course when you bury something, you want it out of sight. But he says, we will even bury them deep.

I have my swords in my life. I have the need to bury them deep in the earth. The beautiful message of the Restoration, is to know there is a chance to bury them. There is a chance to get rid of the past. There is a chance to exercise faith in the future.

The key to making resolutions is staying resolute. The Anti-Nephi-Lehi people taught a powerful lesson after mentioning their promise, they stood resolute even unto their deaths. And those lives they sacrificed to keep their promise to God allowed many souls to awaken to Him and return to His love.

So, I say this from what the Spirit taught me, as a post for readers to ponder, and also for a post for me to reflect. I’m not the greatest example when it comes to letting things go and burying things in the earth to never ever take them up again, but they are good principles.

Happiness comes from moving forward, not staring over your shoulder!

Footnotes:

  • First Quote: Zig Ziglar’s Facebook Image Post, Dec 31, 2013
  • Second Quote: Alma 24:16

– Jeremy Unitt