Monday, December 30, 2013

Don't Look Back, Look Up.

I am personally an advocate of the fact that if you want to change you definitely do not have to wait for the new year to begin. In fact, don't wait at all, do so immediately rather than continuing to live your life at its less than maximum capacity. However, I am grateful that someone had the idea to set a deadline that would convince millions of people to make the changes they should have made months ago. Maybe we should try to start a tradition of doing new months resolutions, that would really help pick up the pace, but I digress.

For a lot of people who go about making a new years resolution (NYR) at least some level of thought is put into it. Nevertheless, many NYRs are set almost mindlessly as people write down goals of losing weight and getting out more. While these are in fact worthwhile endeavors, I have witnessed the mass of people of all shapes and sizes that begin to flood the weight room every January, the frustration of which is eased by the fact that I know that crowd levels will return to normal as soon as February comes--sometimes even sooner-- demonstrating the all to common fact that a lot of people have a poor resolve to change. So, what is it that makes the difference between a determined person and one in the opposing category?

I will attempt to answer this question by first making a reference to the classic motion picture, Disney's Mulan. One of my favorite songs in that movie is called something along the lines of, "A Girl Worth Fighting For." In this song the soldiers all sing of a girl who would motivate them to fight with honor, or in other words they speak of what motivation would give them a greater resolve to conquer. What makes the difference in someones determination or resolve is there motivation. Sometimes in our lives it is a beautiful child of God that motivates us to be better people, but that only lasts as long as that person shows us some interest. While it is a good motivator for a moment may I suggest a better source of motivation. The motivation I speak of is the love for God. When you do anything out of love for another person, it only lasts as long as that love is being reciprocated, so the fact that God's love for us is unconditional and unfailing makes it a great place to ground our actions.

Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer suffered and died for everyone of us. He did this so that if we would come unto him, then He could remove the burdens of our sins and help us back on the path of Eternal Life. While some people trudge through life carrying the weight of their mistakes upon their back, Christ has a showed us a more excellent way to becoming the people we want to be. After the extreme expression of love that Christ showed unto us, should we not respond by showing our love and adoration for Him?

So, how do we go about showing our love for God? Consider the clear and concise council given by Christ himself, "If you love me, keep my commandments." (John 14:15) Not only has Christ granted unto us the ability to change, but he has also showed us what we can change. As we strive to live the commandments we will not be left uncertain as to what we can do to become better people, and not only that, but Christ will also help us as we strive to live according to His will.

As you approach the start of this new year and as you review/create your NYR consider the motivation behind the goals that you have set. If you find that you are not changing out of love for God by resolving to live his commandments consider revising them. If you make your new years resolution to live the commandments of God, whether that be in the form of living the Lord's law of health of that of loving our neighbors, your heart will be filled with love and an undying motivation to change. Let Christ be your strength and your support so that this year the changes will be permanent, not just fleeting. It is my prayer that this year we usher in lasting positive changes into our lives as we change for God, and with God. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen. 

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Friday, December 20, 2013

Once And For All

I personally find it to be beyond incredible that the most influential person in the world was born in a manger. Despite the humble circumstances of His birth, Jesus Christ has brought hope and joy into the lives of an innumerable host of God's children and continues to do so 2,000 years after his birth. Though I may have never met the Prince of Peace in this life, and I may not have been with the Son of Man on the Mount of Transfiguration, I know now as surely as I would have if I saw the Man Of Sorrows hanging on the cross, that Jesus Christ is the Savior and Redeemer of my soul. I have been filled with his peace and love as I have prayed in earnest communion with my God for a remission of my sins; I have felt the comfort of his spirit as I have pondered in his Holy House, the Temple of God, and I know that he knows me by name and he has felt my pain. My testimony has come to me slowly and progressively over time, but it has come to the point that I do not doubt that I am living the life that my Heavenly Father would have me live.

Three things in particular have carried my faith to the point that it is at right now. The first would be the confirming witness of the Holy Ghost that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. The Second is the joy and happiness that fills my heart and soul as I live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and go to the temple. The third would be how as I ask questions and as I study all aspects of science I find that all truth completely agrees with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I would like to elaborate on those particular aspects of my testimony.

There is a promise given by the prophet Moroni roughly 1600 years ago. It is found in the last chapter of the Book of Mormon. It is as follows,
"Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts. And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things."
That is a powerful challenge with an incredible promise. It got to the point in my life that I felt that I needed to take Moroni's challenge. As I read the Book of Mormon I felt the spirit of God enter into my life, pre-preemptively testifying of the truthfulness of that Book. Finally I found myself in the shoes of Joseph Smith escaping to the very same grove of trees to approach my Father in humble prayer. As I prayed I didn't receive a vision of God the Father and Jesus Christ, but rather I felt the burning of the Spirit in my heart and to my mind came the comforting words, you know that these things are true, now see that you do them. From that point on I have never once doubted the divinity of the Book of Mormon, and I never will doubt it because it truly is the words of Jesus Christ.

My next experience is that of Joy and Happiness. My great-great-great grandfather, Alfred Cordon joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Liverpool, England shortly after the first missionaries arrived in the country. I had the opportunity to read his journals and to hear in his own words the story of his conversion, and the point he truly knew that the church was true without any doubt. Due to the nature of his story I will keep it brief and scarce in detail. I will say that it was in December and only six months after he had joined the church, and shortly after he had been ordained to the office of Elder. It was a scary night in which the life of his beloved wife, Emma, was threatened. The Devil saw that my grandpa was weak during this emotionally and mentally difficult time. He proceeded to cast doubt upon his mind filling his head with hopeless lies. My grandpa writes of a mental battle that took place throughout the night. As he reached the early morning when the world was awaking, he began to be filled with the strength as he recounted the joy and happiness that the Gospel had brought into his life. He reasoned that something that brought such beautiful joy into his life had to be true, and it must be of God. With the dawn of a new day arose a new man filled with the Spirit of God. With faith and confidence he blessed his wife with the authority of God that he held and she was healed that morning. Similarly to my great-great-great grandfather I too have experienced a life changing joy that fills my souls and calms my mind with the knowledge that what I am doing is right and is pleasing to the eye of God.

The way I look at life is that I will search for all truth and embrace it. Truth is true regardless of the source from whence it sprang (I think that is a quote I heard once). In this church you are not discouraged against asking questions in fact it is encouraged. As I have delved into the depth of understanding and pierced the veil of common knowledge I have found that the Gospel of Jesus Christ that has been restored by Joseph Smith, is taught in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and is found in the Book of Mormon is beautiful, complete, and perfect. You will receive answers to questions of your soul that will resonate with the cords of truth that form the foundation of your religious testimony. I am eager to learn and grow in the gospel and for the answers that I will continue to receive on my path to enlightenment. Which fittingly is a bright path full of confidence because I know that answers will come and it will meticulously agree with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I still have much life ahead of me and many trying experiences that will grow my testimony. I look forward to the trials ahead knowing that if I remain faithful I will be delivered from them all in due time, and that God will mold me into more of a man than I ever could be come on my own.  I want it to be known once and for all, forever and always, that I am a Disciple of Jesus Christ the Son of God, and that I will remain faithful to his divine cause for the rest of my life. I know that Jesus is the Christ and I know that through him we can receive a fullness of joy. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Lamb of God

"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 openeth not his mouth."

Isaiah 53:7

The other day I had a very powerful scripture study when I came across the before mentioned verse. It struck me quite powerfully as I recalled something that one of my professors of religion in college shared with me. A portion of his life was dedicated to the humble work of raising sheep, which unavoidably leads to bringing them to the slaughter. He said that a unique thing about a lamb is it will not struggle or cry as you kill it. Other animals would struggle and cry as they realize what is about to happen to them, but a lamb never will.

How much more profound now is the metaphor of a lamb to the slaughter as a representation for our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ. The whole time he was suffering for our sins, he never once raised a word in protest, but rather he humbly said, "nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done." (Luke 22:42) Willingly subjecting himself to suffering he never deserved, but doing so to demonstrate his unimaginable love for each and every one of us.

"...he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people. And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities."
Alma 7:11-12 

Having been the lamb, and experiencing all the suffering that such entailed, He is now the shepherd, and with perfect understanding He asks us to follow Him. He knows full well some of the afflictions that we may experience because of our allegiance to His will; Christ even tells His disciples, "Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves." (Matthew 10:16) Jesus Christ understands that worthwhile endeavors are not easily accomplished, but He is the good shepherd and He knows what is best for His sheep. He suffered much to be able to know to succor (or help) his people in our times of need. 

"I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture... I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep."

John 10:9,11

All that Christ asks us to do is to be like Him. Reinforcing that point, Christ tells His Twelve Disciples in the Ancient Americas, "Therefore, what manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am." (3 Nephi 27:27) Similarly He tells His Twelve Apostles in Jerusalem, "For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you." (John 13:15) Christ is the way! He is the only way! So, let us come unto Christ by doing as He would do. The blessings are immeasurable, and the path is possible. Of that we can have a sure hope because of the sacrifice of our Lord and Shepherd, The Lamb of God. 

"He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young."

Isaiah 40:11

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Thursday, November 28, 2013

It Hurts So Good

"For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;"
1 Corinthians 4:17 

As strange as it may sound we should be grateful for our trials and afflictions. That is what I am thankful for this Thanksgiving. As I look back on the short life I lived thus far, some of the most profound and life changing lessons that have shaped me into the man I am today happened at my lowest points; A time when I was finally desperate enough to hear and act. To hear the hard answer that God had been trying to give me, and act on that answer. Those trials taught me to rely on and trust God, and through him I became stronger than I ever was before. Trials mold us, trials shape us, and trials strengthen us so that we can stand against the winds of adversity. Just as a muscle never grows stronger without stress that causes it to tear, neither will we ever grow without adversity and trials that tear us down so we can grow stronger. I encourage all of you this wonderful Thanksgiving to be grateful for the trials in your life, and recognize them for the wonderful blessing that they are.

 "...we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us."
Romans 5:3-5 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Be The Light

"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."
Matthew 5:16

"Don’t shine so others can see you. Shine so that through you, others can see Him."


It is a tricky thing to do in life, to be the light that Christ asks us to be, to always be directing the attention of our righteous actions upward to God. To me, it always seems that if you try your best to be a diligent disciple of Jesus Christ that often people will praise you rather than God. Is that a bad thing to be complimented for our hard work though? Definitely not. There is nothing wrong with being grateful for praise, but we should make a point to always direct the praise upward to God, to whom credit is warranted. That is the most important part of it all, that we give the glory to our Father in Heaven, not to ourselves.

King Benjamin, a wise prophet-king in the Book of Mormon, helps put all of this in perspective while helping us understand why we really have no reason to boast of ourselves. In an address to all the people in the kingdom he gives the following bit of advice as part of his sermon/talk:

"...I say, if ye should serve [God] with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants. And behold, all that he requires of you is to keep his commandments; and... if ye do keep his commandments he doth bless you and prosper you. And now, in the first place, he hath created you, and granted unto you your lives, for which ye are indebted unto him. And secondly, he doth require that ye should do as he hath commanded you; for which if ye do, he doth immediately bless you; and therefore he hath paid you. And ye are still indebted unto him, and are, and will be, forever and ever; therefore, of what have ye to boast? And now I ask, can ye say aught of yourselves? I answer you, Nay. Ye cannot say that ye are even as much as the dust of the earth; yet ye were created of the dust of the earth; but behold, it belongeth to him who created you."  
(Mosiah 2:21-25) 

I heard a story about two doctors once that helps to illustrate the principle I am hoping to convey. The two had the same level of education, they were experts in the same field, and both had just successfully completed a very risky surgery. The first man basked in the praise that others gave him constantly making mention to the hours he slaved away in medical school to earn such a valuable skill. The second doctor though, while grateful for the compliments, took no thought to mention himself however; instead, he gave thanks to God for blessing him with the ability to successfully complete the surgery.

In all that we do we should remember where are blessings come from. I believe that one of the profound lessons that a missionary learns is how much we truly rely on the Lord. We cannot successfully preach His gospel without His divine assistance. I have tried, it doesn't work. No matter how eloquent we make our lessons, no matter how meticulously we plan out the day, and no matter how much we know, nothing would get done without His hand in the work. As soon as I start to take the credit for successes that I have experienced the Lord lovingly reminds me with a nice chastening. As soon as I am humble enough to recognize that it has nothing to do with me, He once again reaches out in love to open the flood gates of blessings.

Christ, like with all other virtues, was a stellar example of giving the praise to our Heavenly Father. As Christ points out in the great intercessory prayer, "I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do." (John 17:5) Christ spent his entire mortal ministry engaged in the work of bringing the souls of men to our Heavenly Father. A work for which he received much praise of man. Man will do as they will, but it is our job to always remain humble and only seek to glorify the Father through our word and deed. As we follow the example of Jesus Christ and truly humble ourselves to the reality that we are nothing without our loving Heavenly Father, then we can do all things through him and be the light that Christ has asked us to be.


Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Instrument of Our Spirits

 My inspiration for this post comes from the following quote by Elder Melvin J. Ballard (1873–1939), a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:
“The body that has been given to us was for the purpose of allowing the spirit to exalt itself to a nobler condition. The lightning that is seen flashing from cloud to cloud, from mountain top to mountain top, is an electrical force that may tear down buildings, set fire to property, and destroy life. Conduct electricity through the dynamo wire, and motor, and behold its wonderful results working for the service of man, accomplishing something under the control of a physical instrument, it thus becomes a power for good. So with steam, if allowed to evaporate freely it does little good, but restrain it in the boiler, send it through the engine, and under its power you may travel across the continent or sail from shore to shore. And so, too, with this highest, most potent of all spiritual forces, the intelligence that is in man; enshrine it in a spiritual body, that it may have the experiences of spiritual life; and then give it a physical body, that it may enter into and obtain the joy and experiences of physical life, and you have enlarged its powers immeasurably” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1912, 107).
One of the most important, and unique doctrines of the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ is the understanding of the everlasting significance of our bodies. It is widely misunderstood in mainstream Christianity that the body is evil, and a reward of heaven is that we get to discard these worthless tabernacles of sin. That couldn't be more wrong. Hence, why it is such an incredible blessing to have the truth explained and revealed to us in our modern age through living prophets of God.

A very potent truth that emphasizes the importance of our bodies is the fact that our Heavenly Father and His son, Jesus Christ both have bodies of flesh and bone-- a point that Christ himself went to great lengths to prove. When the risen Lord appeared to his chosen Apostles he said, "Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have." (Luke 39:24) and he drove the point home by eating in front of them fish and a honeycomb.

When our Savior appeared to the people living in the Americas, he bid them to know for themselves that he truly had a body of flesh and bone when he invited them saying, "Arise and come forth unto me, that ye may thrust your hands into my side, and also that ye may feel the prints of the nails in my hands and in my feet, that ye may know that I am the God of Israel, and the God of the whole earth, and have been slain for the sins of the world." (3 Nephi 11:14)

And we learn that Christ will keep his body and will never again be seperated from it in Romans 6:9 when it says, "Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him."

Having a body is necessary for our eternal growth and development. If it wasn't so then Christ would not have been resurrected with a body. In fact, getting a body was part of the very purpose of our mortal existance. And when you combine the body and the spirit of a man you have his soul, the complete whole of who that invidual is. When we are absent of either half we are very much incomplete. The loss of our spirit is the loss of our essence, while the loss of our body is the loss of our substance. Or as Boyd K. Packer put it, "Your body really is the instrument of your mind and the foundation of your character." (2000, October General Conference)

Our spirits are of God and are perfect, but our bodies are of the dust and are subject to many imperfections. God communicates and influences man through our spirits, while Satan attempts to make us subject to the bonds of misery through the misuse of our bodies. In order for us to achieve our potential and get the most out of our mortal existence we must let our spirit take over. Such is the nature of the advice of Jesus to Nicodemus, "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." (John 3:5-6)

We must let our spirits take control just as a jockey must take control of his horse. If we let Satan convince us to misuse our bodies it is like a jockey who cannot take care of his horse, and that Jockey will never collect a first place trophy. In order to let our spirits take over we must do what Alma tells his son Shiblon, that is to, "bridle all [our] passions." (Alma 38:12) When we bridle all our passions we turn those wild unbroken mustangs into thorough bred stallions. That comes from have a healthy diet and exercising regularly. It comes from keeping ourselves well groomed thus showing respect for the temples that God has given us. All of that and more is why the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has standards for health (Word of Wisdom) and well being (Law of Chastity). These standards that we given to us by God have always existed and are intended to help us live our lives at a higher, happier level.

I know that living this way will strengthen us spiritually and help us reach our fullest potential. Just as the music from a well-maintained instrument is beautiful in contrast to the horrific noise that comes from an out-of-tune, worn-out windpipe, so will it be with our lives if we maintain the instrument of our spirits. I know these things to be true and say them in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Picture/video Sources: (from top)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Growing In Light

While Elder Barcala and I were street contacting the other night we met a guy who said something that really got me thinking. He said:

A person who doesn't read is no better than a person who can't.

It really struck a cord in me on the importance of learning, and the fact that God gave us a brain for a reason. One of my favorite things about the Gospel of Jesus Christ is that if it is practiced in full, it encourages the study and learning of all subjects. In fact, that is the entire purpose of this life; to learn and to grow in light and knowledge.

I was further inspired when my grandpa, Alfred S. Cordon shared this thought with some family and friends the other day.

That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day.


What a remarkable plan ---a light that grows "brighter and brighter until the perfect day." It speaks of growth, of development, of the march that leads toward godhood. What a profound challenge! We must go on growing. We must continually learn. It is a divinely given mandate that we go on adding to our knowledge.

--PRESIDENT GORDON B. HINCKLEY ( a quote from his little book )" STAND A LITTLE TALLER "

I firmly believe that as soon as we stop growing, learning, and improving with each new day, that we can stop worrying about whether or not we are going to be damned at the last day because we already are. That may shock or confuse you, but consider this usage of the word; when you dam a river you stop its progress. It stops flowing, and will never reach its intended destination. So it is with us. If we stop learning and stop growing, we have damned ourselves. Thus, we must never stop increasing in light and knowledge.

The best way to increase in light and knowledge is to seek learning by faith. We are admonished to do this by the Savior in the Gospel of Matthew 7:7 which says, "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: "We are also told in James 1:5, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." The common thread in both verses is the invitation to act, by actively seeking knowledge through questions. Our job as intelligent beings is to continue to ask questions and to seek answers. If you never question, and if you never seek answers, you will never increase in knowledge, and you will never reach the potential that we all have. 

118 And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith.
Study, read, and devour every bit of information you can find, for all that is true is part of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, no matter the source from whence it sprang. And remember that the best learning environment exists when the spirit is present, so learn not only by study but also by faith. Do as James directs and ask God for wisdom, then actively seek to find answers. If you do, the answers you seek will be given unto you by the power of the Holy Ghost. Of that I give my solemn witness and promise in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Cleansing the Inner Vessel

 "It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened."
Luke 13:21 
 " I would that ye should remember that God has said that the inward vessel shall be cleansed first, and then shall the outer vessel be cleansed also.""...behold it will be expedient that we contend no more with the Lamanites until we have first cleansed our inward vessel,..."
Alma 60:23-24

     I am sure you are wondering right about now what these two verses have in common. Let me tell you. Consider the first of the two, and liken the leaven to corruption and the meal unto us. When we have even a small portion of corruption in us, and we let it fester we will eventually be consumed by it. Therefore, as we learn in the second reference, our first and foremost responsibility is to cleanse the inner vessel first, before we cleanse the outer vessel. There are challenges and struggles all around us, but until we ourselves are prepared and ready to face those challenges we will never be able to overcome because the challenges within will destroy us. You must destroy the enemy within your walls or your walls become useless, and the enemy behind them irrelevant.

    I have learned in a very profound way that as a missionary we cannot ask people to change their lives, or even help them change their lives if we haven't changed our lives first. We must be our first convert, or as Mahatma Gandhi put it, "We must be the change we wish to see in the world." We all have weaknesses whether or not we recognize them, and we all have need to cleanse the inner vessel. It seems like a daunting task to extinguish the evil within when their is so much evil in the world around us pushing down on us. However, we are not without hope, for Christ has left us a profound promise of peace and encouragement. It is found in his words of comfort to the prophet Moroni, where he says:

"And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them." 
 Ether 12:27

    Come unto Christ; cleanse your inner vessel; strengthen your defenses, and help all whom you love to do the same. "And now, behold, my beloved brethren, this is the way; and there is none other way nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God." (2 Nephi 31:21) I love you all, I hope you have a wonderful week, and I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Life, The Refining Fire

"Good timber does not grow with ease. The stronger the wind the stronger the trees."

-Douglas Malloch

A topic that has been on my mind quite a bit lately is that of adversity brings strength. And after Thomas S. Monson quoted the poem above in the latest General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints I felt as if I should say a word or two about it.

Often I am confronted with the question of "why do bad things happen to good people?". For many people this is a difficult question to answer, and one that has lead many people to question or abandon their faith. This should not happen, neither should people feel as if the only thing they can do is simply brush the question aside an act as if it is irrelevant or unanswerable. Understand this: there are always answers, some may come sooner than others, but never be afraid to continue asking questions. 

To help us understand affliction we have to understand the purpose of this life. We are here to be tested, it is a trial of our character (Alma 34:32). If we prove faithful with the little that we have been given, then God will give us a place in his mansion above. We cannot be tested without trials. This life has three guarantees: you will be born, you will die, and you will have hardships. We are all born into unique circumstances and conditions. We all have different strengths and weaknesses; as a result, no two people will experience the same trials. However, God will not put burdens on our shoulders that we are not strong enough to handle. We need not bear these burdens alone though, Christ is always there to strengthen and support us.

In chapter thirty of the Gospel of Matthew we learn of the invitation that Christ has extended to everyone of us:
28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
Life is going to be hard, and it will be full of challenges, and if you haven't experienced any yet brace yourself. This is not intended to be disheartening, and it all reality it shouldn't be. Experiences lead to growth, and the growth leads to strength that comes from understanding. And through it all, Christ is there for us. His hand is always out-stretched and all we have to do is grab hold and faithfully trust him. As we stand strong and faithfully endure our challenges we will one day be able to have the same confidence as Paul when he said, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith." (2 Timothy 4:7) So, I implore you, that when life gets hard, when everything around starts caving in, and you can't help but feel down, don't forget to look up.

Other Scriptures to read:
Jacob 3:1-2 (B.o.M.)
Romans 5:3-5 (KJV)
2 Corinthians 4:17 (KJV)
Mosiah 24:10-17 (B.o.M.)
Online Scriptures @ 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Journey Begins

    Spiritual light --understanding, knowledge, and/or enlightenment-- comes in a variety of ways which are best fit for each of us and the circumstances we are in. Some people receive light in a similar way to getting struck by lightning, it comes in a large quantity very suddenly, and in a very dramatic way. Others get it in a way that is like turning a light switch on, it comes suddenly but simply a very un-miraculous way. As for me though it came like the rising of the sun, gradually and overtime, so the change was often unseen. I went from complete darkness to life giving light almost without realizing it because the change was so subtle. This was probably due to the fact that I was raised in an environment that allowed for me to learn from my earliest stages of life about the incredible love that our savior has for us and the gift that he has given us. As a result my faith is a part of who I am. It is so core to my being that it influences all I do and all I hope to become. It is why I gave two years of my life to sharing this incredible message of the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ with some else because it is the very thing that brings joy into my life and peace to my soul. Life is journey down the road to enlightenment, and the joy is found in the journey. I hope to help anybody I can start their journey or continue down it. The journey of life starts and continues with a question. Questions push the limits of what we understand and enlarge our personal understanding. So, what question will you ask?
By: Elder Joshua Cordon