The Fabulous (Fantastic) Four

Just something that’s been stuck in my head all week.  During sacrament last Sunday, the Bishop spoke to us about what he called:

THE FABULOUS FOUR!

I like how he put it.  It immediately got everyone’s attention and then he told it how it was…

If you are not doing these four things in your life, DO IT.  Don’t do it half way, do all of it and you will be blessed.

  1. Go to Chuch EVERY Sunday, to EVERY meeting.
    Do all three hours, don’t pick and choose.
  2. Daily Prayer
    Say your prayers daily.  Say them in the morning, at night and throughout the day.
  3. Daily Scripture Study
    As you read and study your understanding and faith will grow.
  4. Pay a Full and Honest Tithe
    “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in my house; and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of Hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”  (3 Nephi 24:8–10; Malachi. 3:8–10)

There you have it.  The fabulous four… or what I like to call the fantastic four.  I personally feel it is wise advice in which my Bishop addressed head on.

The 179th Semiannual General Conference: D. Todd Christofferson Talk

Sunday Session 5, Talk 7 – D. Todd Christofferson, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

My Notes:

  • Moral Agency, the right to make choices and account for those choices.
  • WW II – James E. Faust was in enlisted in the US Army.
    • Asked the question “In times of war, should not the morale code be relaxed? Does not the stress of battle justify men in doing things they would not do while at home under normal situations?”
    • Answered “I do not believe there is a double standard of morality.”
  • Moral Discipline is the practice of exercising agency to choose the right, just be cause it is right.
  • Discipline’s root word is Disciple.
  • The more of God’s laws we obey, the fewer laws we need on earth.
  • Morale Discipline is learned at home.
  • Teach your children while you have them and convert them while they are with you.
  • Book of Mormon quote: “Wickedness never was happiness”
  • His mother’s quick correction put an abrupt end to his life of crime! 🙂
  • Discipline needs to be founded on faith in Heavenly Father and the son and what we can achieve with atonement of Jesus Christ.
  • God is our Father, his son Jesus is our redeemer. Their law is immutable, truth everlasting and love is infinite.

The 179th Semiannual General Conference: H. David Burton Talk

Sunday Session 4, Talk 3 – H. David Burton, Presiding Bishop

My Notes:

  • Let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly, then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God.
  • 13th Article of Faith
  • Civility
  • Stand tall and be firmly fixed in perpetuating Christ like virtues, even the “ity” virtues.
  • Teaching virtuous traits begins in the home with parents who care and set the example. A good parent example encourages emulation. A poor example give license to disregard and even expand. An hypocritical example destroys credibility.

Going to the Temple

Since my last post, I’ve been doing great!  I feel that I have been blessed with a wonder wife, precious children and great friends.  About two weeks ago while thinking I was going to work through the night, I had the impression to call my wife up and ask her to go get our temple recommends.

We showed up unannounced at our church thinking it was going to take 15 minutes like I’ve also heard in Priesthood it would take.

Ooops!

It looks like if it’s your first time for a temple recommend the Bishop would take extra time to talk and meet with you about it.  We found that out as I waited for my wife for about 45 minutes with my kids.  We also had delayed a Bishopric meeting that they were going to have, but the brethren didn’t seem to mind too much as they were hanging out and having a good time.

After my wife came out of his office, it was my turn and it took about 20 minutes or so as he talked to me.  We have our temple recommends signed by ourselves and our Bishop and we now only need to meet with our Stake President.  Our Bishop also wanted to meet with us again to talk about things with us as a couple that Sunday.

That Sunday evening we met with our Bishop and talked about some wonderful things.  Afterwards,  I called on Sunday to make an appointment with the Stake President but never heard back from the Stake Secretary.

That Monday morning I spoke with my boss about getting a week off since I have been working non stop, six days a week, since the beginning of the year…and “I was going to get remarried to my wife…sealed in the Temple.”    I wanted to  spend time with my children, to study the scriptures and ponder things and concentrate on spiritual things.

My wife called on Wednesday to see if we could get a hold of him.  He told her that he would call her back on Friday so we could meet with the Stake President on Saturday.

It was a long week.

Friday came and gone without a call.  Saturday came and I anxiously awaited until about 10am.  I then called him and left a message.  I never heard back from him until about 6pm.  I was worried the whole day thinking he had forgotten about us and that we wouldn’t be able to go and get our Endowments and Sealing next Saturday.  And that I’d have a whole week of time off of work to feel disappointed.

Since he finally called back,  tomorrow morning at 9am we have an appointment with our Stake President and I am excited that we are a step closer to things.

I am glad that I am writing this post, because it just occurred to me that it would be a good idea to bring our recommends in for him to sign!

I am greatful for the blessings in my life.

Going to the Temple

I can’t remember the last time I felt the spirit so strongly.

I am so excited. My ward has been planning a trip to the temple to do baptisms for the youth and new converts. When I first heard about this, I was kind of leary about going yet. There are so many things that made me want to wait and I thought I was going to do just that. I even planned on working on the Saturday that was planned.

I believe that the hand of the Lord was influencing things today as I attended Church today. We made it just as church was beginning today. We were able to sit through and take sacrament together as a family. It was ward conference and there were sustainings and a message from our bishop.

The Bishop had a message about how we are not perfect, but if we are willing we can improve every day and also the importance of us sharing the gospel with everyone.

The new stake president (the man who asked me to speak in another ward last summer) also delivered an influencing message. How we should stop concentrating on the temporal things such as having that large home or car or watching TV and focus on our spiritual needs and how to put our Heavenly Father first.

We had a combined meeting for 2nd hour – and one of the stake councilors spoke about the importance of family and the plan of happiness / plan of salvation.

The third hour we had a combined priesthood meeting and we spoke about the needs of our significant others.

Before third hour, the brother that had baptized me approached me about going to the temple next Saturday. I thought I had already made up my mind and kindly told him I wasn’t going to. But then a feeling came over me that I should go anyway. After talking with him shortly I decided it was something I should do. Everything fell into place from here.

I was found by the Bishop’s secretary and had an appointment for after church for the temple recommend interview. I was beaming with joy at this point.

The whole day so far made me realize many things:

  • How much I love my wife and children and how I want to be with them forever.
  • The joy that comes from coming to church every week.
  • This church has brought nothing but goodness to my life.
  • This church is ABSOLUTELY the Church of Jesus Christ.

After third hour, I met up with my lovely family and asked them to wait while I talked to the Bishop.

It was a wonderful meeting, full of the spirit, I was bursting at the seams with joy. My interview went well, with the usual questions which are similar if not exactly what we are asked for our baptism interview or priesthood interviews.

There is one question that is different that came up and I was waiting for it. The Bishop asked me “Are you worthy to go to the temple?” This seems like a simple question but it is not. I realize that no unclean thing can be before the Lord, let alone enter his house. I had the feeling I should have just said yes, but with trying to be honest to myself and the Lord I said “…pretty much, 95% sure.” And why did I answer this way? Because I am not a perfect person. However, the Bishop again started to explain that part of being worthy is to be willing (note the keyword willing) to be obedient to the Lord. And I do believe I am.

“We are our own worst judge.” I said, and then I said that I am indeed worthy to enter the temple.

The Bishop also mentioned that he has noticed a change in my countenance and I was glad to hear that. I felt a change in the past few weeks. I felt a change because I’ve been doing what they always say:

  • Keep the commandments.
  • Study the scriptures daily.
  • Have family home evening.
  • Pray together as a family.
  • Pray while alone.

I testify that these things make an absolute difference. I’ve tried to follow the advice before.

Trying was bringing change and happiness in my life.

Doing, however, has brought immense joy and peace.

Even though I said I was going to work on a Saturday, I have to say that I am not. To make up for it, I will work late on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Friday, I will rest and prepare to enter the temple and on the coming weekend I will dedicate it completely to spiritual things, which absolutely take importance above all temporal issues.

I am anticipating being dunk again. The feeling of being baptized is like none other. I was thinking since I was an Elder I could help by doing the baptisms, but I there is a policy that I have to be a member for a year and have a full temple recommend as well as being an Elder to do so. I am fine with that, I just want to help anyway that I can.

I am excited to enter the House of the Lord.

How much can the Bishop Help?

Alot.

Last night, my Bishop made extra time for me and met with me at 9:30pm at night.  We talked for a good hour and a half about the things that were bothering me.

I feel spiritually recharged and like I can take anything on.   Things are falling into place as if the Lord has prepared a way for me out of my situation.

It was past 11:00pm when I left church.

I felt relieved, with a new energy and my testimony strengthened even more.

I really appreciate my Bishop and the hard work and dedication he has to the ward.

Faith, Home Teaching, Obedience and Meekness Really Do Work

Things seem to be very difficult in my life right now with one thing after another going wrong. I’ve been depressed and stressed out. I admit, I did not want to go to Church on Sunday. The night before, I only had two hours of sleep and it was already 8:15am when I woke up. Sacrament started at 9:00am.

I almost rolled over and went back to bed, but didn’t. I felt I had to be strong, if not for myself than for my children. After an agonizing wait to get everyone ready and loaded into the minivan, we arrived at church. It was 9:30am when we arrived.

It’s a bad feeling when I miss sacrament. Something I used to view lightly when I was growing up in Catholic Church now meant so much to me. It meant that I can start over and wash away anything less than righteous from the week before. I sat in the lobby feeling empty and didn’t even try to enter the chapel.

There I sat for about ten minutes until the thought came in my head: “You can leave church, you missed sacrament anyway.” No, I couldn’t do it – I was already there and I remembered that I DO actually get something out of the other Sunday School and Priesthood Meetings. Besides, the children would learn something new and enjoy their Sabbath day. The last twenty minutes went by easier.

The Sunday School Gospel Essentials lesson was a review on the Second Coming of Christ: The signs of the second coming, the gathering of the house of Israel (the story of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob), the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and the Millennium. And there was one more thing – integrity. Then our teacher started touching points of his experiences at his caucus the day before.

Priesthood Meeting was good. We sang “I am a Child of God” as the opening song and then everyone shared their missionary stories and the bishop talked to us about fulfilling our home teaching. Both ways – meaning that if you had not been contacted by your home teacher, seek them out and get it rolling!

Afterwards, I spotted my home teaching companion and my assigned member and we scheduled an appointment. I had a home teaching appointment with my companion and family at 3:30pm.

After Priesthood Meeting, we went to Elders Quorum where we had an abbreviated lesson on God the Eternal Father and the true nature of the Godhead.

I left for home feeling like I didn’t really get anything out of Church and that my Sabbath day was wasting away.

I napped from 12:30pm until about 1:30pm and then I could not get back to sleep. I searched for and pulled out my unopened January issue of Ensign and began to read the First Presidency message to see what I would teach my family. I read it and thought I was ready to go.

My home teaching companion finally came and he met me at my house. We walked down the street to the family’s home and walked in. He saw that I had my Ensign and he was excited and he left his in the car. After some small talk, we began our lesson with my giving the invocation prayer. My companion offered me the lead and I refused. He kindly took the lead and delivered it like a professional.

After he had done his part and gone through the lesson about how Jesus Christ built bridges, I finally added in my two cent about how Obedience, Service and Prayer has helped me in the past year. There was some more small talk and then my companion gave the benediction prayer and we left. I felt enlightened and really took something away from my time at their home.

My companion and I was walking back to his car when he asked what seemed to be a routine question.

What can I do for you?

Usually I am prideful or embarrassed so I give the routine response back, “Oh nothing, we’re doing fine.” Not this time, something came over me and I humbled myself and told him.

I told him about my problems and he counseled me.

My first problem was about my expensive plumbing issues with my house. It turned out he has ownership in a plumbing company so he said he would help me.

“That’s nothing” he said, “piece of cake, if I can I’ll do the work for you and eat the cost.” He then asked again, “What else?” I hesitated for a second and then I humbled myself and continued.”

My second issue was about my mortgage situation. My ARM adjusting for the 3rd time and my payment going ridiculously high. How high? So high I could be living in a house three times the size of the one I have now.

He told me I should talk to the Bishop, if the plans that I have to fix things do not go through, perhaps it can be arranged that someone who is a mortgage expert in the stake can help me. He told me to make an appointment with the bishop.

“This is easy” he said.

“Everyone in our ward is here when you need us, this can be taken care of.”

He then looked at me again and asked me again, “What else?” My heart lightened and then continued again about another issue that has been weighing on me.

My third issue we discussed as well and he again gave me some advice and suggested that I talk to the bishop about it.

My meekness was now obvious and then he asked me again. “What else?” I replied “Nothing else.” He smiled and we talked for a while more. We then were going to part ways and instead of a shake he gives me a hug. It was just what I needed.

I really appreciate him and I hope I can somehow convey that fact and help him one day.

What else good can come from doing home teaching?

Having a home teacher!

At 6:00pm we had a dinner and family home evening scheduled at my new home teacher’s house. I am glad that we went and that they took time out to visit with us. It was very fun and we got along very well since were all pretty similar in age. It also helped that they have very loud boys as well and we felt right at home.

I really appreciate my home teacher as well, with everything he has done for us. We were on the subject of large families and I cannot forget what he said to me.

He said:

“Family is the only thing you can take with you.”

When dinner was over (it was a very good one) and it was time for Family Home Evening, he began and showed me how it was done. All the boys in the room lasted less than five minutes and then the lesson was done. I actually relieved to see it doesn’t last long for him either.
After about three very fun hours at their house we left and went back home.

When we got home I realized that I only had a total of three hours of sleep.

I quickly fell asleep feeling satisfied, content and at peace.

I can say that not giving up faith, being obedient, service, prayer and being meek do have its rewards.

Thank you, Heavenly Father.

Oh Bishop, My Bishop!

I admit, when I first started going to Church I wanted to call the Bishop the Warden instead. I wanted to do so only because the Church was called a Ward. It seemed fit that the Warden would be in charge of the Ward. It took me two months to get that out of my system and I’m happy to report that I never once slipped up…at least I don’t think I did.

I don’t know if my Bishop will ever know how much I admire and appreciate him. Not because he holds a prestigious title, that he presides over Sacrament or is in the highest office of the Aaronic priesthood. The reason why I appreciate him is because he is just a man. He is a man who is kind, caring, humble, sincere and the first one to admit his faults.

If I did not know him and saw him walking down the street, I would know he was a righteous man, obedient to the Lord. He is a man that has the Spirit with him, always.

I know how hard his calling can be and he does it with a smile and with all his heart. He is one of the many men in my ward that I look up to as an example of what I want to become. He is a man that has his spiritual affairs in order.

Last Sunday for Church, I caught him in his office and met with him briefly about arranging to be ordained to the Melchizedek Priesthood since I was Sustained in the last Stake conference. When he saw me, he smiled. He shook my hand and was genuinely happy to see me. We sat in his office for a second and I told him of my plans and how I wanted my best friend to ordain me.

Afterwards, he told me how he was proud of me and put his arm around my shoulder. “How are you doing?” he asked me. “I’m trying as best as I can.” I replied. “The best you can is good enough and that is between you and the Lord.” Like many times before, he spoke about how he is not perfect, has his faults and he tries his best as well. He also spoke of the wonderful gift of the atonement and how he relies on it in his life. At that moment I felt the Spirit bring me Peace and Comfort. It washed away my feelings of inadequacies.

His kindness and humble attitude strengthened my testimony. He made my day. He made my week. Even though I thought something horrible happend less than three hours ago when a Deacon forgot to pass us the bread for Sacrament, I felt safe and set for another week.

He is just a man, but he is my Bishop. And I wish I could find a way to thank him for that.

The Lobby

I was a little disappointed on Sunday as I sat out in the lobby during Sacrament. I sat there with my family and waited with others as the bread was blessed. Afterwards, I expected a Deacon to come out the Church doors to pass Sacrament to us.

It never happened!

Usually when I am waiting for Sacrament, I have a feeling of peace and relief. It turned to horror as they began to bless the water. They forgot us! My family and three others. Even worse, a Deacon finally came out with the water tray. Everyone just took the water, except one or two people the Deacon missed again. I am just disappointed. It seemed that no one wanted to say anything for the sake of reverence. For the rest of the hour I was sad and disappointed…and little angry that I things were overlooked.

When I was passing sacrament over a month ago, I was taught how important the Sacrament Ordinance is and how we should make sure everyone has a chance take it and to be mindful and observant. I wasn’t sure what to do, to let the Bishop know we were missed or to seek out the President of the Deacons or the President of the Priests? To the readers – what are your opinions on this?

When the Deacon came around with the water tray, we took from him. My wife asked me “Does it still count?” My answer. “Yes.” But I am really not sure – I know that Sacrament is supposed to be done a certain way and we did not partake of the bread, but our intentions in being there would have to be enough. I finally found peace when a thought came to my mind – I can wait until next week. It will actually be three weeks without Sacrament since there was a Stake Conference last Sunday. It will be a very, very long week.

On another note, since I have children my wife is very helpful for tending to them during Sacrament meeting, sometimes I am guilty of letting her bear the entire burden of them. I don’t know what I would do without her, she makes things run much easier in the family. I feel I need to do better in helping and taking turns with the kids so she can get more out of Church. Maybe I am a little selfish, but I look forward to the three hours on Sunday and try to learn as much as I can in that time period.

The talks today were on repentance and I tried my best to listen to it. I couldn’t hear half the time. There were about six children in the lobby, not including my three, and some other members and the place sounded like a cafeteria with all the screaming, singing and chattering going on. The single speaker in the lobby ceiling was easily overpowered. I was annoyed at this. I try to keep it mellow when I have my kids in the lobby, if the baby starts to act up, I will actually leave the building until he calms down – as to not disturb anyone else in the lobby. It seemed no one was going to do this today.

A few months ago the Bishop talked to us about reverence and the importance of it and even more I now realize the magnitude of it. We should stay respectful of the people at Church. Sometimes people need Church more than others. At times I feel like I need Church more than another week. This time I felt I needed it more than ever. I needed time for self-reflection, learning, comfort and peace. The first hour made me feel like I was robbed from it between having half a sacrament and missing the talks.

I realize people aren’t perfect and things go wrong sometimes and forgiveness is all I can do. I did forget first hour and enjoy the second and third. I am looking forward to next week to start anew: renew that covenant, listen to those talks and avoid the lobby if I can help it.