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