LDS Pad: The Journey Back to Heavenly Father

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Plan of Salvation

My 2nd Son’s Baptism

This last Saturday, I had the privileged of baptizing my 2nd son, Dylan.  It was quite a different experience than the other baptisms that I have been to.  This time, it seems like it was HIGHLY organized by our stake and there were so much people that it filled the entire chapel of the stake center.

This time around, each ward took turns at the font and split up into different areas of the stake center afterwards.  Since Dylan was the only one being baptized for our ward, we ended up in the small family history / employment center room.

I also found myself referring back to my posts: My Son’s BaptismA Convert’s Survival Guide: What to Expect BEFORE your Baptism and A Convert’s Survival Guide: What to Expect AFTER your Baptism to reference the prayers and procedures needing to be performed.

During the opening of the baptism service, I was impressed that my son was eager to answer all the questions by the speaker in the chapel for the service before the ordinance was performed.  The baptism had to be done twice because his toe poked out of the water.  The 2nd time I dunked him, I made sure to push him down to the very bottom of the font by his chest and knees.

Next during his confirmation, my heart was full of joy and I know my son felt the same way when telling him to “receive the holy ghost.”

I am thankful that my best friend Mike and his family could come and support Dylan in his decision.  Also glad that Mike was on hand for being a witness in the baptism and part of the confirmation as well.  I am glad to have the privilege to hold the priesthood and minister unto my family and those around me.

My son’s baptism has given me another person to look up to when living the gospel.  Together I know we will help each other grow closer to Jesus Christ.



Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?

During the last few months, I often hear the question being asked:

Why do bad things happen to good people?

In two parts, here is what I understand about why this happens:

Opposition

Opposition is a part of this life.

In the Book of Mormon there is a passage that reads:

For it must needs be, that there is an aopposition in all things. If not so, my first-born in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility.
12 Wherefore, it must needs have been created for a thing of naught; wherefore there would have been no apurpose in the end of its creation. Wherefore, this thing must needs destroy the wisdom of God and his eternal purposes, and also the power, and the mercy, and the bjustice of God.
13 And if ye shall say there is ano law, ye shall also say there is no sin. If ye shall say there is no sin, ye shall also say there is no righteousness. And if there be no righteousness there be no happiness. And if there be no righteousness nor happiness there be no punishment nor misery. And if these things are not bthere is no God. And if there is no God we are not, neither the earth; for there could have been no creation of things, neither to act nor to be acted upon; wherefore, all things must have vanished away.

For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my first-born in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility.

Wherefore, it must needs have been created for a thing of naught; wherefore there would have been no apurpose in the end of its creation. Wherefore, this thing must needs destroy the wisdom of God and his eternal purposes, and also the power, and the mercy, and the justice of God.

And if ye shall say there is no law, ye shall also say there is no sin. If ye shall say there is no sin, ye shall also say there is no righteousness. And if there be no righteousness there be no happiness. And if there be no righteousness nor happiness there be no punishment nor misery. And if these things are not there is no God. And if there is no God we are not, neither the earth; for there could have been no creation of things, neither to act nor to be acted upon; wherefore, all things must have vanished away. (2nd Nephi 2:11-13)

Here, we learn that for good to exist, evil must.  For light to exist, darkness must.  Opposition gives us our opportunity to exercise or agency and make choices here in this life.

The Plan of Happiness and Salvation

The plan of salvation and happiness can be used to answer this question.   In our eternal lives, our life on earth are but a few moments.  In the plan of salvation, we have come down t0 this earth gain experience.  As part of gaining experience, we all use our agency that we have to navigate through life.  Through or agency, good and bad choices are made.  We are affected by the consequences of good and bad choices, whether it be made by you and by others.

The key thing to remember is that we are all children of God.  He loves all of us.  We have chosen to come down and experience the good and bad of life.  Jesus Chris had suffered all things.  When we turn to Jesus Christ, we grow closer to him and make us stronger.  Jesus Christ personally knows and understands what we go through in difficult times because he had experienced them as well.

President James E. Faust said:

Into every life there come the painful, despairing days of adversity and buffeting. There seems to be a full measure of anguish, sorrow, and often heartbreak for everyone, including those who earnestly seek to do right and be faithful…For some, the refiner’s fire causes a loss of belief and faith in God, but those with eternal perspective understand that such refining is part of the perfection process.

Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father does not like to see us suffer, however they find joy and are pleased when we learn to turn to them in difficult times.  We gain peace and comfort when we seek help from our Heavenly Father through Jesus Christ.  We grow closer and stronger to them and become better and more experienced, having weathered through the tough times.



The New and Everlasting Covenant

What is the New and Everlasting Covenant?

The new and everlasting covenant is the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The covenant is everlasting because it is always the same. God’s plan does not change.

The covenant is new because it has been revealed many times following periods of apostasy on the earth. Each time it is revealed it is, in effect, newly on the earth again.

All covenants between God and man are part of the new and everlasting covenant.  Many people in the LDS church mistakenly think that marriage is the new and everlasting covenant when, in reality, it is a new and an everlasting covenant. (See Doctrine and Covenants 132:4.) Covenants made at baptism, when taking the sacrament, and in the temple are also examples of individual covenants.

In a revelation received by Joseph Smith in 1831, God declared that the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ is the new and everlasting covenant.

–          Doctrine and Covenants 66:2 -> “Verily I say unto you, blessed are you for receiving mine everlasting covenant, even the fulness of my gospel, sent forth unto the children of men, that they might have life and be made partakers of the glories which are to be revealed in the last days, as it was written by the prophets and apostles in days of old.”

The breaking of the everlasting covenant is apostasy.  In a revelation given to Joseph Smith in 1831, the Lord said that those who do not follow the prophet in the last days will be cut off from the Lord’s presence. “For they have strayed from mine ordinances, and have broken mine everlasting covenant.” (See Doctrine and Covenants 1:15.) In an earlier time, Isaiah prophesied that the apostasy after the death of Christ and his apostles would be because the people on the earth had “transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.”

Elder D. Todd Christofferson commented on the new and everlasting covenant in the April 2009 General Conference: “The scriptures speak of the new and everlasting covenant. The new and everlasting covenant is the gospel of Jesus Christ. In other words, the doctrines and commandments of the gospel constitute the substance of an everlasting covenant between God and man that is newly restored in each dispensation. If we were to state the new and everlasting covenant in one sentence it would be this: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”



Remembering and Recommitting

April has been a month of recommitting and remembering.

Let’s all face it.  When we’re following the straight and narrow path, you are the most happy.

This is done by following the commandments, daily prayers throughout the day, following family home evening, putting effort into your callings, giving thanks and remembering Christ.

Heavenly Father knows our hearts and our needs and he listens to our prayers.   When we are weathered from the world and feel that we are not 100% and yearn to be, he will bless us and give us a way.

Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done. And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.  (Matthew 21:21-22)

Throughout the Book of Mormon we consistantly see the word “Remember.”   Searching on scriptures.lds.org for “Remember” shows us at least 88 results.

Recommitting is remembering.

Remember the baptismal covenant.

Remember the plan of salvation/happiness.

Remember to pray.

Remember the scriptures.

Remember Heavenly Father and his love.

Remember Jesus Christ and the atonement.

Remember and be blessed with peace and happiness.



My Son’s Baptism

Earlier this month, on a Saturday, my son was baptized.

It was great to help prepare him with FHE’s (family home evenings) by going through the “Preach My Gospel” manual and teaching him as my wife and I were taught not even a year ago by the missionaries.  We started this process a few months before he was to turn eight and be baptized.

From going to Church and Primary (Sunday School) for the past year, he knew lots of concepts already concerning the Plan of Happiness/Salvation and the things we must do to return home again, like: being baptized, following the commandments, taking sacrament every week.

I took him to his baptismal interview the Tuesday before.  (See: A Convert’s Survival Guide: What to Expect BEFORE your Baptism)  I had learned that his Sunday dress shirt was missing so on the way home I ran into Wal-Mart and was in and out of the store in a record five minutes by sneaking in and out my secret location: The garden section!

When I got home, I got him dressed and we were out the door in less than three minutes.  We arrived at the Church about fifteen minutes early and we waited patiently outside the Bishop’s office.  The Bishop finally arrived 25 minutes later and into his office they went to talk.

I patiently waited outside for what seemed like ten to fifteen minutes until he called me in as well so he could fill out the records for his Baptism and Confirmation.  I was impressed at the knowledge he divulged to the Bishop and his retention.  He made me very proud.

We happily visted McDonalds’ drive thru to pick up an ice cream cone and then we drove home.

On Friday, we visited Deseret Book Store to get him his very own scriptures and carry tote. We ended up getting him a regular-sized quad which contained: The Old Testament, The New Testament, The Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants.  Also, we got him a CTR ring he wanted and I got a cool deal on my painting of Jesus that I talked about earlier this month.

Saturday came up very quickly.  Before we left the house, I felt my heart swell as I looked at him.  He looked like “a mormonboy.” I never would have thought my children to be mormon, but now I can’t imagine raising my children without the gospel and principles we have. 

I have to admit, I didn’t go obsessive about preparing since I’ve been involved in two baptisms already: my own and I performed my wife’s.

A few hours before hand I got our bag ready:

Extra change of underwear for my son, an extra pair of socks as well.  For myself, I brought an extra undershirt, pair of underwear and socks.

I went over with my son how our hands were to be intertwined, what I would say and how I he would plug his nose and I would put my hand behind his back to dunk him.

I also studied again what was to be said when performing his baptism, which was:

[Calling him by his full name], having been commissioned of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.  Amen.

We arrived at the stake center a few minutes earlier than requested and we got changed into our jumpsuits.  There was one more baptism taking place during the service, an eight year old girl from another ward.  I was hoping I would go after they did so I could watch and be sure I was doing this correctly.  This wasn’t the case, I was told that our family was going first.

We followed the usual program that I wrote about before hand in: A Convert’s Survival Guide: What to Expect at your Baptism.

I went first and took my son’s hand and led him into the font.  The water was nice and warm and we set up as the little children ran to sit down on the floor in front of the font and watch.  He wasn’t nervous at all, very happy.   I wasn’t nervous at all either, I was guided by the Spirit and I baptized him.  Immediately afterwards I could see a great, warm smile on his face.  I was proud of him and gave him a little hug and led him out of the water.

Now getting changed afterwards was a different story.  It was a bit could in the bathrooms and the poor boy was shivering.  I worked quick to get him dried off and dressed and sent him out.  I followed shortly after changing as well.

Then after they were done singing their interlude hymn, it was time for me to confirm him a member of the Church.  This part I studied in the past and then again a few hours before his baptism.  When I was first baptized, the man who helped us to learn the gospel and baptize me handed me a blue card with the prayers for ordinances that the priesthood can perform. 

I checked and double checked and studied this card up until right after my son’s baptism, right after getting changed.

Again, it was time to confirm him a member of the Church.  I looked at the attending Stake official and my wonderful Bishop to motion them up to help me confirm him.  This was my first time confirming and I was very nervous.  There was a lot of my non-member family members attending, some friends and the people supporting the girl that was being baptized as well.  I was nervous.

It all went away when I put my hands on my son’s head and closed my eyes.  I was again guided by the Spirit in confirming him a member of the Church and giving him a blessing.  The words coming out my mouth came out without any filter our any forethought.  I even surprised myself by what had happened.  After the confirmation, my son rubbed his eyes and got up with a smile and we all congratulated him before taking our seats again.

The prayer I said to confirm my son was:

[Calling him by his full name], in the name of Jesus Christ and by the Authority of theHoly Melchizedek Priesthood, I confirm you a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and say unto you, receive the Holy Ghost.  [Then a blessing as the spirit dictates].

See: A Convert’s Survival Guide: What to Expect AFTER your Baptism, to learn more about confirmation.

I was glad to have my mother-in-law there and my brother.  Baptisms can be a great missionary tool, as the Spirit is undeniably present during such.  My friend, Mike, who I didn’t know made it until after the service showed up afterwards and surprised me.   I looked at him with a smile and told him joyfully again: “It’s all your fault!”

Also in attendance was one of the missionaries that helped teach the us our original lessons a year ago and attended my wife’s and my own baptisms.  The funny story about this was that we couldn’t get a hold of them to make it to the baptism and they were coming back from fetching lunch and decided to stop by the church since they saw some cars there and then upon closer inspection, our minivan!

I was glad he could make it, it made it much more special and his support for our family is much appreciated and needed.  Through crowd and confusion, I did miss a few minutes of watching my son.  My missionary told me that my son said:

I want to be baptized every day!

My heart swelled again and I was proud of him for the step forward he has taken.  And I am also so happy for my wonderful wife and the support and growing she has been ongoingly giving to us all.  I truly couldn’t do anything without her, she is my light in the gospel.  She is my best friend and she knows me and what I need, as well as she knows all my sons and what they need as well. 

I am happy our family can be together forever and I am happy my sons has taken his first steps to make it back to our Heavenly Father.



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.



Gordon B. Hinckley

hinckley_medium.jpgIs it weird that I am not saddened?

The President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Gordon B. Hinckley has died at the age of 97.

Being less than a year into this, I can’t say that I’m too affected by it. I have only really heard him speak once during the Semi-Annual General Conference. I enjoyed what he had to say in October and was looking forward to him this April.

I realize the progress this Prophet made for the church during his presidency and admire his works. The world went from 56 to 224 temples? Amazing!

So is it weird that I am not saddened by his passing?

No. I am happy for him!  Happy because of the plan of Salvation.

I found out last night when my friend Mike gave me a call.  I said a prayer for his family to have peace and comfort.  I wasn’t saddened really, just  a little surprised.  I thought he was kidding around when he said he was hoping to make it to April’s General Conference.

He had lived a great life. I know where he has gone. He is with our Father in Heaven, his wife and his other family. And he will get his reward:

His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. (Matthew 25:21)




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