Thursday, December 31, 2015

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 4:10

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 4:10
"And thus ended the eighth year of the reign of the judges; and the wickedness of the church was a great stumbling-block to those who did not belong to the church; and thus the church began to fail in its progress."

I am once again struck on how not all the Nephites belong to the church of God. It speaks earlier in this chapter how the people suffered greatly from the war with the Lamanites and Amlicites. The people then humbled themselves and many were baptized. With this they prospered in the land. With this wealth came wearing costly apparel and being built up in their pride. That is when we see some of the members of the church of God persecuting others. Setting a bad example and becoming a stumbling-block, causing others to want no part in the church of God.

I can liken that to so many examples I have seen. It only takes one poor example of a member of the Church to make others think all members are that way. For some reason these people get very vocal and destructive. Sometimes I think that the worse damage to the church is done from members within. When people have left the church and then speak bad of it, the source does not sound credible. You know they have an agenda. But, when you have apostate members spreading false doctrine and twisting words that is when terrible damage can be done. The hard thing is you never know who's apostate.
I am reminded years ago of a sister for some unknown reason I felt very troubled by. I just couldn't put my finger on why something seemed off. She appeared active and  faithful, even attending the temple with me. I put my concerns aside it simply wasn't my place to doubt her. Then I happened to visit with a recent convert that was having some difficulties with her faith. Come to find out this other sister that concerned me, had given her after baptism, all types of church books to "help her understand the gospel". This sister had been reading them. Then I found out what books she had been given. They were all anti-Mormon based. No wonder this poor convert was confused. Sadly it was learned she wasn't the only new convert to receive such "gifts" after their baptism from this sister.

How this grieved me heart to see the very person to deceive her was someone she had looked to help her learn her way. That is the very worse. It is people like that the Lord will clean house with. I would not want to stand in their shoes. I would not want to be held accountable for deceiving others and causing them to lose their faith. Its one thing for you to lose your faith, but entirely different when you cause others to lose theirs. There will be much to answer for on their heads. May I never be counted among them. 

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 3:18-19

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 3:18-19
"Now the Amlicites knew not that they were fulfilling the words of God when they began to mark themselves in their foreheads; nevertheless they had come out in open rebellion against God; therefore it was expedient that the curse should fall upon them.
Now I would that ye should see that they brought upon themselves the curse and even so doth every man that is cursed bring upon himself his own condemnation."

When the Amlicites joined with the Lamanites to come against the Nephites, they marked themselves with a red mark on their forehead. That was to show what side they suppored. The Lamanites skin had been darkened hundred of years earlier as a cursing when Laman and Lemuel sought to kill Nephi. The brothers were divided and the cursing of darkened skin fell upon them so they could tell each other apart. The Amlicites having been Nephites did not have this darkened skin. That is why they needed to mark themselves, to show they were not part of the Nephites any more.

The Lord didn't tell the Amlicites to mark themselves, they weren't listening to the Lord at that point. The desire to mark themselves was something they did on their own. They marked themselves to their own condemnation. In these verses the Lord reminds us that we bring cursing totally upon ourselves. We stand out from others with our clothing, language, behaviors and activities in showing who's side we are on. The Lord doesn't do it to us, its something we are drawn to do all by ourselves.

This marking of ourselves I take very seriously. I may be considered extreme but when I saw people running to mark their Facebook profiles with rainbow colored flags, all I could think about was what the Amlicites had done in showing open rebellion against God.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 2:29-31

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 2:29-31
"And it came to pass that Alma fought with Amlici with the sword, face to face; and they did contend mightily, one with another.
And it came to pass that Alma, being a man of God, being exercised with much faith, cried, saying: O Lord, have mercy and spare my life, that I may be an instrument in thy hand to save and preserve this people.
Now when Alma had said these words he contended again with Amlici; and he was strengthened, insomuch that he slew Amlici with the sword."

Amlici was after the order of Nehor that practiced priestcraft and slew Gideon. He was a wise and very cunning man. He started to draw the people away with the desire to be made king. This wasn't possible unless the voice of the people supported it. Which after voting they did not. This didn't stop Amlici and against their laws his people consecrated him king. Then the people went to battle. The Nephites were overcoming the Amlicites when they fled. Alma sent spies after them. That is when it was discovered that the Amlicites had joined forces with the Lamanites. The Lamanites far out numbered the Nephites so much so they could not be counted.

The Nephites are fighting for their lives, their families and country. Alma who is not a soldier, but a man of God fights for his people too. He comes in direct battle with Amlici. What struck me is Alma cries to the Lord to spare his life but he is not thinking about himself. His purpose is to be an instrument in Lord's hands to save and preserve his people. I can just see Alma, not a soldier knowing on his own he is not strong enough to slay Amlici. He knows that with the Lord all thing are possible. That weak things can be made strong. The Lord will strengthen us to fight the battles that lay ahead of us. The key is to be on the Lord's side of the battle.
It's interesting but the verse also reminded me of a fleeting thought I had today while at the temple. It came to my mind the part in Jacob 2:19 "And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches, it ye seek them; and ye will seek them for the intent to do good.." I had thought it rather odd because I wasn't troubled about or looking for money when that came to me. I was rather ashamed of that thought because I didn't want to be tempted with money.

So the message now I think I needed to understand today is the Lord will strengthen and bless me to finish the work he requires of me, only if it is to save, preserve and protect and help others. The purpose of that strength is to be an instrument in his hand. Not for selfish motives but to help others. With the Lord all things are possible. Whatever He asks of us he will open the way.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 1:21-23

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 1:21-23
"Now there was a strict law among the people of the church, that there should not any man, belonging to the church, arise and persecute those that did not belong to the church, and that there should be no persecution among themselves.
Nevertheless, there were many among them who began to be proud, and began to contend warmly with their adversaries, even unto blows; yea, they would smite one anther with their fists.
Now this was in the second year of the reign of Alma, and it was a cause of much affliction to the church; yea, it was the cause of much trial with the church."

This chapter speaks of Nehor the first to be found practicing priestcraft among the Nephites. How he slew Gideon and was put to death. Yet, Nehor's followers remained and became very clever in how they preached false doctrine and setup their churches for gain. It finally occurred to me this time that the Nephites didn't all belong to the Church of God. They had many churches that believed in God much like we have many different religions today. They believed in God but in their own way. That doesn't mean they were all preaching what was right. 

What stood out to me on these verses was how the church told its members not to contend with others, including other members. Much like our church does today. Yet, there were members that couldn't leave it alone, that had to fight with others. The root cause of that is their pride. Because of their actions it caused much trial for the church. I see that same behavior today.

I know I have at times disagreed with others on doctrine. It takes so much self-control and power to not fight back to not try to prove your point, to just drop things. It really is a sign of pride to keep pressing a point. What heartache that must cause the leaders of the church to see the saints behave this way. What grief it must cause the Lord. When we get to the point we contend nobody wins. We are all losers. The spirit has totally fled.

When pride steps in no one will learn or change an opinion. It is so much better to let people discover the truth on the own. Just leave them with what you said earlier and go your way. It is all I can do at times to not comment back and have the final say. I just went through this last week. I had to chuckle because this person that didn't know me quoted tons of scriptures all to prove their point, said if I would actually read the scriptures I would know that. I could have really humiliated them and showed them proof I did indeed read the scriptures every day. I had some really good comments I could have made, explaining how what they quoted proved my point. 

Instead I felt the spirit tell me walk away now, leave it alone. They will come to the truth themselves if you let them. You will do more damage if you press the point now. Wow, was it difficult to do that right in the middle of them wanting to fight. Right when I had some really good points to make. Right when my pride was taking over, because I knew I was right. The spirit came and warned me right when he needed to. I am grateful I listened because I know by winning I would have helped them lose their soul. I would have been so wrong even if I was right, I would have grieved the church and the Lord. If the spirit has fled nothing will be gained.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Today's Favorite Verse: Mosiah 29:27, 38

Today's Favorite Verse: Mosiah 29:27, 38
"And if the time comes that the voice of the people doth choose iniquity, then is the time that the judgments of God will come upon you; yea, then is the time he will visit you with great destruction even as he has hitherto visited this land.
Therefore they relinquished their desires for a king, and became exceedingly anxious that every man should have an equal chance throughout all the land; yea, and every man expressed a willingness to answer for his own sins."

King Mosiah speaks to his people regarding his sons not wanting to be king. He presents to them the dangers of having a king, especially an unrighteous king. He presents to them a new form of government, having judges over them. The people after hearing this plan desire this new form of government and to have an equal chance in how it is run.

This made me think again about a Facebook post I saw the other day. A friend commented about the very person I would like to have as president. They and their friends were making comments about how if this person was elected they were afraid it would bring the destruction of our nation. I found that comment so very interesting. In fact I have thought on this for days. Because, the very person they wished to have as president I feel the same way about, that theirs would bring the ruin of our nation.

How can people have two very opposite points of view on what will bring the ruin of our nation? I couldn't come up with a good answer because I didn't want to say one had  righteous motives and the other wicked. That would mean anyone that voted for the person I didn't like would all of a sudden be labeled unrighteous people. I know good people that have political views different than mine. 

Now when I read these verses I see the key is the voice of the people choosing iniquity, that brings the destruction of a nation. I suppose people can be divided politically and have far different opinions and yet the Lord will not destroy them because neither side was choosing iniquity. We have our free agency to pick who we want as our leaders and that means varied opinions are OK with the Lord. 

The danger of the judgment of God on our nation only comes when the voice or majority of the people choose iniquity. The people and programs they support would allow them to stay in their sins. That is when the judgment of God will come. That is when we face destruction. The one thing that brings me comfort is the sin of choosing iniquity is answered on our own heads. The weigh of who I vote for is my burden to bear. I have to think if I'm a minority in my nation when it does choose iniquity, that the Lord will protect his people. I know that never means I escape all problems in life. But, instead what I have to pass through will only be for my good and I will come out better in the end. 

My personal role now is to make sure I am not supporting anyone that promotes or encourages iniquity. Political differences are OK, but supporting iniquity is not. That is the  guiding principle. To support someone that supports sin will be answered on my own head.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Today's Favorite Verse: Mosiah 28:1-2

Today's Favorite Verse: Mosiah 28:1-2
"Now it came to pass that after the sons of Mosiah had done all these things, they took a small number with them and returned to their father, the king, and desired of him that he would grant unto them that they might, with these whom they had selected, go up to the land of Nephi that they might preach the things which they had heard, and that they might impart the word of God to their brethren, the Lamanites -
That perhaps they might bring them to the knowledge of the Lord their God, and convince them of the iniquity of their fathers; and that perhaps they might cure them of their hatred towards the Nephites, that they might also be brought to rejoice in the Lord their God, that they might become friendly to one another, and that there should be no more contentions in all the land which the Lord their God had given them."

The ending of the previous chapter tells of the Alma the younger and the sons of Mosiah traveling throughout the land, publishing to all people what they have heard and seen, preaching the word of God in much tribulation. They were greatly persecuted by those who were unbelievers, and smitten by many of them.

In this chapter I see that after all this the sons of Mosiah are desiring to preach the gospel to those once considered their enemies. It says they could not bear the thought that any human soul should perish and endure endless torment.

What I pondered over was how they were prepared first for this assignment from the Lord by preaching the gospel to their own people. What lessons they must have learned from being persecuted by the unbelievers. I don't know why I had never seen this preparatory stage before. In my mind I always jump from their miraculous experience to their wanting to share the gospel to the people considered their enemies. I see now the Lord prepared them for this mission.

The other thing I pondered on was the blessing they knew would come from bringing the gospel to their enemies. But, first they didn't think of them as that anymore, they were their brethren now. They knew the truth would cure them of their hatred towards the Nephites. They would become friending towards one another and there would be no more contention in the land. Even today this same thing applies. The gospel of Jesus Christ will heal wars between nations. It will bring peace when wars never can. Sometimes there are wars first before the missionaries can come into a land. But, the better way is to preach the gospel to them first.

I could not help but think of Jonah, of the Old Testament being called to go to Nineveh. Nineveh was a very wicked city, part of the Assyrian Empire, a cruel and blood thirsty people. They would cut of people's heads and all sorts of unspeakable things. They developed a new military weapon called terror. I can totally understand now Jonah would quake and turn and flee to not go to such a place. It was only after receiving a strong witness, by being swallowed inside a great fish, that Jonah had the strength to do as the Lord commanded and go to Nineveh.

I see in reverse how the Lord prepared the sons of Mosiah for their mission to those that also sought their blood. He born them the undeniable power of God in their conversion story. Then he strengthened them prior to the call by sending them to their own unbelievers first. He gave them love and compassion to call them their enemies brothers. Now they were ready to preach the gospel to the Lamanites. 

I ponder on how the gospel must be preached to every kindred, tongue and people before the Savior will return again. I am sure there are saints that will quake to be sent to some people willing to spill their blood, cut off their heads, and do unthinkable things. I wonder how the Lord will strengthen us for just such a mission.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Today's Favorite Verse: Mosiah 27:23-24

Today's Favorite Verse: Mosiah 27:23-24
"And it came to pass after they had fasted and prayed for the space of two days and two nights, the limbs of Alma received their strength, and he stood up and began to speak unto them, bidding them to be of good comfort.
For, said he, I have repented of my sins, and have been redeemed of the Lord; behold I am born of the Spirit."

The chapter speaks to the righteous prayers of a parent for their child. For the saints coming together to fast and pray for that mighty change of heart. That the Lord does answer prayers and will soften the heart of those that oppress his saints. That no matter the wrong they may do he will forgive them. That through the spirit a soul can be born again.

Alma the younger and the sons of Mosiah had the best parents anyone could have. Yet, they had turned from God and went about to destroy the church. In a powerful way, very similar to the conversion of Saul on the road to Damascus, an angel appears to them. He tells them the Lord has heard the prayers of the people and his servant Alma. They have prayed with faith that they would be brought to a knowledge of the truth. The angel came to convince them of the power and authority of God. That his servants prayers would be answered according to their faith, even if they would be cast off.

Alma the younger is struck dumb and loses his strength. For two days he lays in that condition. Giving him a chance to repent of his sins and be born again. What joy this must have brought to his father. What hope it gives to all of us that have wayward children. We can never give up. We never know when the Lord will see fit to soften their hearts and bring them to a knowledge of the truth. It is never to late for anyone to repent.

Merry Christmas from the Zamora Family

Merry Christmas
From the Zamora Family
William, Renee, Philip & Garrett

May the gift of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ's birth
bring peace and joy into your life.
He is the greatest Gift ever given.

To view our family Christmas Card visit:

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Today's Favorite Verse: Mosiah 26:30

Today's Favorite Verse: Mosiah 26:30
"Yea, and as often as my people repent will I forgive them their trespasses against me."

What sweet words that touched my heart this Christmas Eve. Regardless of all that I have done, or may do in the future, my Savior will forgive me. He is always there for me. He sacrificed himself to atone for my sins if I would only repent and turn to him. I am grateful for my Savior's birth and all he has done for me.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Today's Favorite Verse: Mosiah 25:17-18

Today's Favorite Verse: Mosiah 25:17-18
"And it came to pass that after Alma had taught the people many things, and had made an end of speaking to them, that king Limhi was desirous that he might be baptized; and all his people were desirous that they might be baptized also.
Therefore, Alma did go forth into the water and did baptize them; yea, he did baptize them after the manner he did his brethren in the waters of Mormon; yea, and as many as he did baptize did belong to the church of God; and this because of their belief on the words of Alma."

As I read these verses tears came to my eyes. What a tender mercy of the Lord to let me sit and reflect on baptism, on this the 50th anniversary of my family joining the church. My parents and two oldest siblings were baptized. I was to young to be baptized, along with an older and younger brother. But I will always think of this as my anniversary day too. What a blessing it was to our family to become members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I cannot comprehend a life without the gospel in it. I am so very grateful to the missionaries that taught my family the gospel, and lead to so many blessings in my life.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Today's Favorite Verse: Mosiah 24:1, 5, 8, 11

Today's Favorite Verse: Mosiah 24:1, 5, 8, 11
And it came to pass that Amulon did gain favor in the eyes of the king of the Lamanites; therefore, the king of the Lamanites granted unto him and his brethren that they should be appointed teachers over his people, yea, even over the people who were in the land of Shemlon, and in the land of Shilom, and the land of Amulon.
And they were a people friendly one with another; nevertheless they knew not god; neither did the brethren of Amulon teach them anything concerning the Lord their God, neither the law of Moses; nor did they teach them the words of Abinadi;
And now it came to pass that Amulon began to exercise authority over Alma and his brethren, and began to persecute him, and cause that his children should persecute their children.
And Amulon commanded them that they should stop their cries; and he put guards over them to watch them, that whosoever should be found calling upon God should be put to death."

There are so many good verses in this chapter. So many things to ponder over. What I decided to focus on it how I could liken this story to my day.  

If you want to change the way a nations thinks and believes then you change who is educating the people. The teachers here took God out of the education. I can liken this to what is happening in our schools and colleges today. In fact we are getting many professors that are anti-Christ completely. Soon you'll have a generation of children and adults that think nothing of persecuting others for their beliefs.

The message is very clear where this type of education of a nation will take us. The saints will be watched for any offense and persecuted. They will be in bondage and face death. 

The joyous ending of this chapter is that the Lord strengthen his people so they can bear their burdens. Then he speaks to the prophet for the people to be prepared for he will deliver them. The Lord causes a deep sleep to come over the Lamanites. The people gather their flocks and belongings and are able to flee. They make it safely to Zarahemla to gather with the rest of the saints.

I know that this is a foreshadow of what is to come. I know if I keep my covenants with the Lord he will remember me in my trials. He will make me strong enough to bear them. He will deliver me from my enemies. He will bring me to safety. There is peace in knowing the Lord will never forsake those that love him.  

Monday, December 21, 2015

Today's Favorite Verse: Mosiah 23:21-23

Today's Favorite Verse: Mosiah 23:21-23
"Nevertheless the Lord seeth fit to chasten his people; ye, he trieth their patience and their faith.
Nevertheless - whosoever putteth his trust in him the same shall be lifted up at the last days. Yea, and thus it was with this people.
For behold, I will show unto you that they were brought into bondage, and none could deliver them but the Lord their God, yea, even the God of Abraham and Isaac and of Jacob."

Having left, king Limhi's people were pursed by the Lamanites. The Lamanite army becomes lost and that is when they happen to find the priests of king Noah, that had stolen the Lamanite daughters. These Lamanite daughters are now their wives and they have families. They are living in the land of Amulon named after their leader Amulon. The Lamanite daughters plead with the army not to destroy their husbands and that is how these groups join forces. As a body they try to return to the land of Nephi.

That is when they find the people of Alma. They are a righteous people and the Lord has blessed and prospered them during their 24 years in the land of Helam. They are alarmed when they find the Lamanite army at the border of their land. They had to hush their fears and depend on the Lord to save them. They gave themselves up to the Lamanites and in return were promised to be let go, if they would show the army the way to the land of Nephi.

Once doing that the Lamanites broke their promise and set guards around the people of Alma. The king of the Lamanites granted to Amulon that he would be a king over the land of Helam. I'm sure the land of Helam was much more attractive to them than the land of Amulon had been. The people of Alma had been blessed of the Lord and prospered in their land. We can see how quickly the people in Amulon were to leave their land. 

So now we have a man that hated Alma, and everything he and his people stood for, become king over them. I do know the end of the story, but at this point I reflected on how regardless of our righteousness, we will have our patience and faith tried by the Lord. This is that moment for the people of Alma. Through their faith and trust in the Lord, he will deliver them. Because they are righteous they will pass through this quickly. In the end they will be brought to a better place. 

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Today's Favorite Verse: Mosiah 22:3-4

Today's Favorite Verse: Mosiah 22:3-4
"Now it came to pass that Gideon went forth and stood before the king, and said unto him: Now O king, thou hast hitherto hearkened unto my words many times when we have been contending with our brethren, the Lamanites.
And now O king, if thou has not found me to be an unprofitable servant, or it thou has hitherto listened to my words in any degree, and they have been of service to thee, even so I desire that thou wouldst listen to my words at this time, and I will be thy servant and deliver this people out of bondage."

Tonight I pondered on Gideon. In this chapter once again he shows wisdom. He can see things that others do not. Just like it was him to figure out the king Noah's priest stole the Lamanite daughters. Now he sees away for all the people to escape undetected and flee to Zarahemla. I know he was an inspired and righteous man. He was first mentioned after king Noah killed Abinadi and Alma had fled. The kings sent men after Alma and his people to destroy them. That is where we see Gideon fight king Noah and try to slay him. I could not help but wonder why Gideon did not leave with Alma's group? He appears to be a righteous man so I would think he would have wanted to be with them.

Was he willing to sacrifice his life, by taking on the king, so Alma and the saints could escape? That is something I could see Gideon doing. Whatever the reason, it seems the Lord needed Gideon to stay behind. If it wasn't for Gideon actions there are several times all the people could have been destroyed. It is only through inspiration that his mind is quickened by the Lord, enabling him to see a plan no one else could see, allowing all the people to escape. If the Lord had not left Gideon where he was, all of king Limhi's people would have eventually been destroyed by the Lamanites. 

As I ponder on Gideon I don't ever recall it being mentioned that his inspiration and wisdom came from the Lord. But, I know that had to be the source for him to see what others could not. I can only look at my own life and how Gideon ideas have come to me. I'm not a brilliant person, but stroke of ideas and impressions have come that I know could have only come from the Lord, and not due to any intelligence on my part. Gideon shows in this verse he is a humble man and not prideful. If he was prideful about his wisdom and knowledge he would be looking for power and not asking to be a servant to the king. As amazing as Gideon is I think anyone that humbles themselves before the Lord and seeks to do his will, can have Gideon ideas come to them when its needful. 

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Today's Favorite Verse: Mosiah 21:29-30

Today's Favorite Verse: Mosiah 21:29-30
"Yet Ammon and his brethren were filled with sorrow because so many of their brethren had been slain;
And also that king Noah and his priests had caused the people to commit so many sins and iniquities against God; and they also mourn for the death of Abinadi; and also for the departure of Alma and the people that went with him, who had formed a church of God through the strength and power of God, and faith on the words which had been spoken by Abinadi."

I could not help to think about the parallel of this story with the death of Abinadi being like a type and shadow of the death of Joseph Smith. And the fleeing of Alma being like Brigham Young taking the saints and fleeing to the Rocky Mountains. The Lord had told Joseph Smith in 1832 of the coming chastening of this nation for the blood of the saints, with a coming war that would divide the north against the south, beginning in South Carolina.  This is found in Doctrine and Covenants section 87 and I have no doubt it speaks of the civil war that happened 29 years later. 

By the time the civil war took place the nation needed to not only atone for the death of a prophet, and the saints, but the bondage they had placed a whole race of people under. I wonder if the early saints saw that parallel of this story of Abinadi and Alma, and king Limhi's people fighting the Lamanites as the civil war was ranging? I can see how the Lord preserved his saint. While our nation was in the midst of a civil war the saints were safe in the Rocky Mountains, untouched by it. Just like Alma and his people had fled persecution, sparing them of the coming battles. Though Alma and his people, and the early saints went through terrible things, I can see the hand of the Lord moving them to safety. I know if I honor and love the Lord he will always bring me to a better place.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Today's Favorite Verse: Mosiah 20:3-5

Today's Favorite Verse: Mosiah 20:3-5
"And now the priests of king Noah, being ashamed to return to the city of Nephi, yea, and also fearing that the people would slay them, therefore they durst not return to their wives and their children.
And having tarried in the wilderness, and having discovered the daughters of the Lamanites, they laid and watched them;
And when there were but few of them gathered together to dance, they came forth out of their secret places and took them and carried them into the wilderness; yea, twenty and four of the daughters of the Lamanites they carried into the wilderness."

As I pondered over this chapter I keep trying to put my finger on how I could liken it to my day. It is a story of king Noah's priest hiding in the wilderness, afraid to come home to their families. After watching the Lamanites daughters they did the unthinkable and captured them. The end results of their actions caused their families to suffer. The Lamanites went up against king Limhi and his people thinking they were the cause of the loss of their daughters.  It wasn't until the Lamanite king was found wounded among the dead that the people learn the reason the Lamanites attacked them. It was because their daughters had been stolen. Gideon who was King Limhi's captain suggests that maybe this was the doing of king Noah's priests that had escaped into the wilderness.

What finally came to me was the dangers of pornography in our day. King Noah's priest laid in secret watching the Lamanite daughters as they came to sing and to dance. This act lead to even more perverse things. They captured these women to fill their own needs. I could not help but liken that to the sex slave industry that is growing around the world. Pornography is not a victim-less crime, watching leads to other things. It feeds so much evil. It will contribute to the destruction of the family. The other dark end of this is what we see happening in the middle east with women that are being captured and sold. This wicked behavior is causing wars to happen. Now as I ponder on these things I can see the warning messages for our times. No wonder the prophets have spoke out so strongly on the dangers of pornography and the ruin it will bring. 

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Today's Favorite Verse: Mosiah 19:20

Today's Favorite Verse: Mosiah 19:20
And the king commanded them that they should not return; and they were angry with the king, and caused that the should suffer, even unto death by fire."

It's not really my favorite verse to see someone die by fire. What it is reminding me of is Abinadi's words in Mosiah 13:9-10
"But I finish my message; and then it matters not whither I go, if it so be that I am saved.
But this much I tell you, what you do with me, after this, shall be a type and a shadow of things which are to come."

King Noah put Abinadi to death by fire, and in turn King Noah's people put him to death by fire. The words of prophesy are fulfilled. That made me ponder on the blessings I have seen in keeping the commandments and following the prophet, and the effects that have come for not. The words of a prophet always come true. Right now the blessing of paying tithing, and the "fire insurance" it provides really stands out to me.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Today's Favorite Verse: Mosiah 18:8-10

Today's Favorite Verse: Mosiah 18:8-10
"And it came to pass that he said unto them: Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus were they called) and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another's burdens, that they may be light;
Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need to comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life -
Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you?

This is my baptismal covenant and so important to review. I promise I will serve God and keep his commandments. I will bear my brother's and sisters burdens so they will be light. I will mourn with those that mourn and comfort them. I will stand as a witness of God at all times. I pondered on various times where I have done all these things. It really touched my heart reflecting on all those that I have mourn with. Not just in the death of loved ones but other losses in their lives. Those have been very tender times. I know I will continue to try my hardest to stay on this path.

What is beautiful to me are the promises the Lord gives me in return. I would be in His fold and called his people. I will be redeemed and numbered among those in the first resurrection. He will pour his Spirit more abundantly upon me. I reflected on how needful it is to have the spirit because it will guide me in keeping my covenants and on the path to return to my Heavenly Father again.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Today's Favorite Verse: Mosiah 17:10

Today's Favorite Verse: Mosiah 17:10
"Yea, and I will suffer even until death, and I will not recall my words, and they shall stand as a testimony against you. And if ye slay me ye will shed innocent blood, and this shall also stand as a testimony against you at the last day."

I just had to cry at Abinadi's final words and testimony. From his testimony the heart of one young man named Alma was changed. He was able to hear Alma speak words in his defense, requesting that the king let him depart in peace. For that Alma was cast out and the kings servants were sent to slay him. I wondered if Abinadi was blessed to know that Alma would survive and preach the gospel to many. 

I pondered on how it only takes one planted seed, one person to accept the gospel, and the heart of a whole nation can change. The price we may pay for sharing the gospel, and the blessings that await us if we do. I will be honored to some day meet Abinadi and tell him his testimony touched my heart too. 

Monday, December 14, 2015

Today's Favorite Verse: Mosiah 16:1-2

Today's Favorite Verse: Mosiah 16:1-2
"And now, it came to pass that after Abinadi had spoken these words he stretched forth his hand and said: The time shall come when all shall see the salvation of the Lord; when every nation, kindred, tongue, and people shall see eye to eye and shall confess before God that his judgments are just.
And then shall the wicked be cast out, and they shall have cause to howl, and weep, and wail, and gnash their teeth; and this because they would not hearken unto the voice of the Lord; therefore the Lord redeemeth them not."

Reading this I could not help but picture a video I saw recently of a Oklahoma City Police Officer sobbing and shaking uncontrollably, while a judge read the verdict of him being found guilty of sexually assaulting 13 women. Then he is lead out to await his sentencing. I could not help but feel bad for the man for his emotions were so raw. Yet, I knew whatever judgment awaited him it would be just, because of the severity of his crimes.

The remorse was evident, he knew he had done wrong. I am sure he would have taken it all back if he could. The image of him rocking back and forth, weeping and wailing was seared into my brain. The fate awaiting him of being confined in prison, with criminals that hated cops, was more than he could bare. 

I now sit and ponder on the reality of that same horror for anyone that will not hearken to the voice of the Lord. The pain that will be felt when the Lord's redemption has no effect, because of their wickedness. How many will wish that they could have done it all over and never committed their crimes. The weeping and wailing that would have to come, realizing you will be in prisoned for the eternities with the devil and his angel, who hate you.   

I never want that fate. I don't even want to see others face that fate. Yet, I know without a doubt it awaits me, if I do not reach out for the Lord's mercy now and repent of all my sins. How I want my time before the Lord to be spent worshiping him and kissing his feet. What joy it would be to know I could enter his kingdom. I know I too will weep, but those will be an entirely different type of tears.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Today's Favorite Verse: Mosiah 15:9

Today's Favorite Verse: Mosiah 15:9
"Having ascended into heaven, having the bowels of mercy; being filled with compassion towards the children of men; standing betwixt them and justice; having broken the bands of death, taken upon himself their iniquity and their transgressions, having redeemed them, and satisfied the demands of justice."

I attended Stake Conference today and afterwards went visiting teaching. The message focusing on a divine attribute of Jesus Christ was Compassionate and Kind. I could not help but think of the Savior's ultimate act of compassion for us, his atonement for our sins. The willing sacrifice of his life so I can be made clean through his blood and return to live with my Heavenly Father again. To read this verse today just makes me weep. I am so grateful for all the Savior had done for me. Any act of compassion I can show another, is in remembrance and gratitude of what the Lord has done for me. 

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Today's Favorite Verse: Mosiah 14:7

Today's Favorite Verse: Mosiah 14:7
"He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb so he opened not his mouth."

Abinadi is quoting Isaiah 53 and reminding king Noah and his priests of the prophesies of Christ and his atonement. I think this part would have touched the heart of Alma, who as a priest of king Noah, would be there listening. At least I know reviewing what the Savior has done for me really touches my heart.

I picked this verse because I have pondered a lot on the power of not opening your mouth. There are times to speak and share the gospel. There are times it is so precious that to have others mock it, which will cause the spirit to flee, that it is wiser to keep your mouth shut. There are also times that the bait of contention people are trying to rise, that its better to say nothing at all and go your way.

I have learned more about the Savior and grown closer to him as I have learned to keep my mouth shut. There is something holy in the moment when someone mocks and tries to destroy your faith and you simply say "You can believe what you want" and then walk away. People can hate you and say mean things about you, yet you can show love and kindness towards them. The pride that comes when you try to prove your point or correct falsehoods is not worth it. I can never share the gospel or teach others if I'm the only one right all the time. Sharing the gospel can only come when you have humility and love for others. There are times to speak and there are times to be quiet. It is only through the spirit that I can have the wisdom to know the difference. 

Friday, December 11, 2015

Today's Favorite Verse: Mosiah 13:3-5

Today's Favorite Verse: Mosiah 13:3-5
"Touch me not, for God shall smite you if ye lay your hands upon me, for I have not delivered the message which the Lord sent me to deliver; neither have I told you that which ye requested that I should tell; therefore, God will not suffer that I shall be destroyed at this time.
But I must fulfill the commandments wherewith God has commanded me; and because I have told you the truth ye are angry with me. And again, because I have spoken the word of God ye have judged me that I am mad.
Now it came to pass after Abinadi had spoken these words that the people of king Noah durst not lay their hands on him, for the Spirit of the Lord was upon him; and his face shone with exceeding luster, even as Moses did while in the mount of Sinai, while speaking with the Lord."

Abinadi does go on and speaks with power and authority from God. He speaks to them about the ten commandments and the law of Moses and its fulfillment with the Savior's atonement. This is the part I normally focus on when I read this chapter.

But tonight the words "ye have judged me that I am mad" made me sit and ponder. I thought about the people over the years I have thought a little mad, that always talked of God and Christ, his mercy, his will, being protected and guided. I would think they didn't quite live in the real world. Now I am one of them and it pierces my heart to know how wrong I judged them before. It's funny how it has no baring on me if people now see me as mad, like I once judged others as being. I know who I am and who I serve.

Then I sat and wondered about the mentally insane that have gone over the edge and think they are God. What is the dividing line when you know a person is mad or not? I really didn't want to take a psychology class to find that answer out. Then I noticed what happened to Abinadi his appearance changed, the power of the spirit was so strong that others could not deny its presence. They did not touch him. So what is the key? What is it always? It's by their fruits, its by their actions. The spirit will bear witness of the master they are serving and honoring. They have lost the fear of what others think and only fear God and seek to do his will. What a great example Abinadi is.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Today's Favorite Verse: Mosiah 12:13-16

Today's Favorite Verse: Mosiah 12:13-16
"And now, O king, what great evil hast thou done, or what great sins have thy people committed, that we should be condemned of God or judged of this man?
And now, O king, behold, we are guiltless, and thou, O king, hast not sinned; therefore, this man has lied concerning you, and he has prophesied in vain.
And behold, we are strong, we shall not come into bondage, or be taken captive by our enemies; yea, and thou hast prospered in the land, and thou shalt also prosper.
Behold, here is the man, we deliver him into thy hands; thou mayest do with him as seemeth thee good."

Two years have past and Abinadi has come back to prophesy of the coming destruction of the people and king Noah if they do not repent. The people are angry with him and carry him bound before the king. Where he is then questioned before king Noah and his priests.

What stuck out at me while reading this chapter were the yes men talking to king Noah. How their counsel and advise were feeding him wrong information. They were sinning, the people were in bondage and not prospering, only king Noah and his men were. They were in danger of the Lamanites coming in and attacking them. Yet, these yes men where shielding the king from the reality of what was going on in his own kingdom.

I could not help but liken this to our day and wonder who may be giving advise to our president. His sense of reality of what is happening to our nation is so wrong. The dangers from our enemies is so very real. The acceptance and accommodations of sin is only getting worse. I hate to get political but I can see a real message and warning in these verses. I am told to liken the scriptures to my day and this really seems like its happening today.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Today's Favorite Verse: Mosiah 11:20-21

Today's Favorite Verse: Mosiah 11:20-21
"And it came to pass that there was a man among them whose name was Abinadi; and he went forth among them, and began to prophesy, saying: Behold, thus saith the Lord, and thus hath he commanded me, saying, Go forth, and say unto this people, thus saith the Lord -- Wo be unto this people, for I have seen their abominations, and their wickedness, and their whoredoms; and except they repent I will visit them in mine anger.
And except they repent and turn to the Lord their God, behold, I will deliver them into the hands of their enemies; yea, and they shall be brought into bondage; and they shall be afflicted by the hand of their enemies."

Zeniff passed the kingdom to his son Noah and dies. Noah is a wicked and immoral king. He removed the priests his father had consecrated and replaces them with prideful and wicked ones. He taxed his people to support their lazy and idolatrous lifestyles. The people had to labor hard to support their iniquities.

The Lamanites began to attack the people and king Noah sent out guards around the land, but not in a sufficient number to protect them. So the Lamanites would come in and kill them and drive off their flocks. Then king Noah sent in more armies to drive them off and they did, but this only made them prideful and boast in their own strength.  At this point the prophet Abinadi begins to speak and warn them of the Lord's displeasure.

For some reason this is making me think of our southern and northern borders of our country. We do not have sufficient number there to protect us from enemies coming in. I have to earmark this part because I think I will see something about this later.

This also made me stop and think about the Lamanites. I'm not hearing any warnings to them. Why is that? I think it might be because at this point the Lamanites have lived 450 years with the false traditions of their fathers. They have no knowledge of God and his commandments. They are not under condemnation because they made no promises to the Lord. 

That is not the case with the people of king Noah. They were raised with the gospel. They know right from wrong. They have the scriptures and the commandments. This is why the Lord will come down on them for their transgressions. Yet, he warns them first of the need to repent. He promises if they turn to him he will deliver them from bondage and their enemies. 

Pondering on this made me see how you cannot be on neutral ground once you have made promises to the Lord. It made me think of Doctrine and Covenants 82:10 "I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise." I see now the lack of a promise means no protection from our enemies and they are allowed to destroy us. I would much rather remain under the watchful and protecting hand of the Lord and his promises.