Friday, April 27, 2012

1 Nephi 1:1-3

I, Jen, am starting the Book of Mormon again.  And I'm going to do my best to blog as much as possible about it.  Expect a lot of words.  Don't feel you have to read everything, but I invite you to join along.  I'll be sure to post about other things too, but I really have loved the 6 month challenge I just completed, and want to "jump back in the pool," so to speak, and blogging about my thoughts and ideas has really helped keep me focused and loving it.  So with a package of Mint Oreos next to me in my desk and a prayer in my heart, I begin. :)

Oh - but first - a disclaimer.  I am not a scholar.  I am not a student of historians who interpret and modify and make assumptions on scripture, mixed with history.  I am simply a reader, and seek inspiration to apply these verses to my life.  So I won't be making assumptions and telling what happened that isn't recorded in these verses.  I will simply be applying more depth to what I think the verses entail, and what the authors might be trying to express.  That's my intuitive goal–to get what the authors wanted me to get.  That said...

1 Nephi 1:1 -
I, Nephi, having been aborn of bgoodly cparents, therefore I was dtaught somewhat in all the learning of my father; and having seen many eafflictions in the course of my days, nevertheless, having been highly favored of the Lord in all my days; yea, having had a great knowledge of the goodness and the mysteries of God, therefore I make a frecord of my proceedings in my days.
I'm not sure how to start analyzing this in any comprehensive form, besides to share my thoughts.  

I find it interesting that the first word out of Nephi's mouth here is "I".  He's introducing himself to us.  Just like we would introduce ourselves if we were taking a new class, or meeting someone we wanted to talk to.  He's talking to us, so he says, basically, "Hi!  My name is Nephi."  (Ok, maybe it would be more like, "Hello," minus the exclamation point.  Or maybe, "I'm Nephi."  I don't know if he would be as excited as I am when I meet someone new.)  Anyways, beyond that, he tells us some basics. 
  • I have good, decent, honorable parents.
  • My father taught me some of what he knew.
  • I've seen a lot of pain in my life.  I haven't been sheltered or lived in a bubble of bliss.
  • Even so, God saw fit to bless me greatly.  In fact, He made evident His goodness and even taught me His mysteries.
  • That's why I'm writing.  And it's only about my experience, in my lifetime.  I'll let others share their story when it's their time to do so.
1 Nephi 1:2 - 
Yea, I make a record in the alanguage of my father, which consists of the learning of the Jews and the language of the Egyptians.
Jen's translation: my dad was bilingual.  haha!  Just kidding.  I don't know if that means he spoke Egyptian but was taught Judiasm, or if that means he spoke both languages.  (One of my books already makes the assumption that he was bilingual.  If you look closely, it doesn't exactly say that.  Or maybe it does?)  But it does tell me that he knew of the "learning" of his father.  While it doesn't say what Nephi's father's profession was, since this book ends up being about God, I will assume he's talking about learnings of his father which were spiritual or religious in nature.  I conclude that to mean he was taught the law of Moses, which was practiced at that time (about 600 B.C.).  That also tells me he likely followed through and observed the law of Moses.  It means he respected the 10 commandments, he observed the law of the Sabbath, and respected life and loved God.  Their family likely participated in feasts of the Passover, offered animal sacrifice, and possibly participated in worshipping God in temples. In principle, Nephi tells us his parents were good, and that tells me they were likely loving and generous.  They were likely "religious", but also "spiritual".  (The two do not always equal each other.)  I can assume the "spiritual" part, in that God showed Nephi of his "goodness" and "mysteries", which He doesn't always do to the simply "religious".  There is a difference.

As far as the "language of the Egyptians", it would be interesting to fully understand the history of the region, and why the people in Jerusalem (where Nephi first lived at the beginning of this history) were speaking Egyptian.  This is where my ignorance shows through a bit.  But I'm not too concerned. 

1 Nephi 1:3 - 
And I know that the record which I make is atrue; and I make it with mine own hand; and I make it according to my knowledge.
 Jen's translation: 
  • Nephi just testified that what he's about to share is true.  It's as if he's swearing under oath, in front of a court, hand on a Bible, that he is about to share the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help him God. :) 
  • Nephi etched these things into metal plates with his own hand.  He also melded, molded, and shaped the plates with his own hands.  He found the ore, melted it down, and created these metal pages for the purpose of sharing these things with us.  Incredible.
  • He shares only things that he knows.  There is no doubt involved that maybe he was hallucinating.  He isn't living and sharing other people's experiences.  Everything he shares, he experienced first hand.  And he knew it would be worth the time and effort to share it, because he knew his efforts would not be fruitless.  We would get to read his words, 2612 years after his history begins.   
These three verses are only part of the first page of this book, but what a ton of information they hold.  How fast I skim over things sometimes.  Already I know so much about Nephi and his parents.  I'm excited to learn more. 

And thank you for that introduction, Nephi!  It's nice to meet you.  Thanks for taking an interest in me and the people who get to read your words.


p.s. - I wonder what Nephi and his parents look like.  Maybe I'll find some pictures to hypothesize.  That would be fun. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

URL and Massage News

I have news!  This site has been down a few days, and the reason?

One is a new URL!  The new address for this website is  (The is still active as well and will also come here.)  This move is simple, but seemed to take several days to figure out proper coding, links to, etc.  But now it's done! YAY!!! 

The reason for a new URL?  While I don't know how this will play out, I am trusting that I am moving in the right direction with the things I have been learning.  The end goal is to open up an emotional healing practice when we get settled in Pennsylvania.  While I hope to establish a literal business, I also want to have a website already well established with proper links for information and such, on what I do.  Hopefully by then, this will be more appropriately squared away! 

The other change (which will appear momentarily) is that I've been trained in "Aromatouch®" massage, and will be offering them for free of charge for those in the local area over the next month or so.  The massage technique requires only the exposure of the back, neck, head, feet, and hands, and is by no means a deep tissue massage.  While the training only focused on the physical methods and benefits, I hope to also bring the emotional aspect into it, to allow for a more well-rounded experience.

In Utah, I am not legally licensed as a massage therapist, so I am not allowed to charge for this service.  However, I am able to charge for the oils and allow for donations.  For the time being though, I'll not be charging anything, so if you know of someone in the area you'd like to receive this, let me know.  I'm looking for 30 individuals.  (Only one offer per household, however.  After the first one, I'd charge the cost of oils.)    

With the excitement of learning this new technique, I've done poorly at my studies and don't have much insightful to share, but hopefully I'll get back on track soon.  I've decided to get back into the Book of Mormon again for another 6 month challenge.  My Genesis challenge is needing a boost, so I hope someone will decide to join in to share some comments!  Let me know if you decide to join me!

­­¡Que Dios te bendiga!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Emotions of Communication

Yesterday I was contemplating some crazy things happening lately, and viewing my weaknesses in how I deal with them.  It's always interesting to me, to see how people handle things in their own unique way, but yet at times, they all seem so much them same. 

One thing that really struck me was the idea of communication.  My mother got the chance to learn a lot about psychology, and one of the things she always stressed to her kids when we were dealing with trials was, quote, "Take the emotion out of it."  At the time, she was dealing with physical problems that would literally manifest when there was contention around her, so it was imperative for us to keep our home low-key, and take any negative emotions out of our home.  That didn't mean they didn't exist, but we had to learn to deal with them in a manner that didn't cause her physical pain. 

From this, it set a pattern in me, where rather than looking at the emotion of what someone says, I look plainly at what is said or done at face value.  Here are a few possible (and truly fictional) examples of this, using 2 friends' communication as a model.

Friend 1, via text: Hey, how are you?  Did you get my text yesterday?
Friend 2, via text: I can't come over tonight because I have a busy, busy schedule.

Analysis: How does the response of Friend 2 answer the stated question?  Did she really know what Friend 1 was asking?

Mom: Honey, did you pick up those apples at the store for me?
Dad: You know I didn't have time yesterday!  Get off my case!

Analysis: Was Mom trying to insult Dad and his time management skills, or just looking to find the apples to put in dessert?

Kid 1: Owww!  You kit me in the face with the ball!
Kid 2: Don't be such a baby!

Analysis: Wouldn't Kid 1 feel better 10 times quicker if Kid 2 simply acknowledged that Kid 1 is hurt?  A simple apology for the accident would likely quell any tempers that could result. 

I think it works the same way with God.  Things are put straight out and honestly in the scriptures.  In personal revelation, we often get straight out answers, but some of us tend to spin the answers to suit our own interpretation.  In one instance, we read that when the angel Moroni came to visit Joseph Smith, he came at least 3 times, delivering the same message, over and over (See Introduction to the Book of Mormon, The Testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith).  I think this was likely for lots of reasons. 
  • To help him remember the instructions involved.  Repetition helps.
  • To ensure there would be no spin put on it.  No "spiritual vs. temporal" interpretation applied, like we tend do all the time in Gospel Doctrine class.
  • The visits abided by the Law of Witnesses.  At least 3 witnesses ensure that the message is true.
Sometimes I wish in personal communication that it were socially acceptable to do as Moroni did.  Could you imagine if I texted the same message to someone 3 times, to make sure they actually read it at face value, without putting their own emotions or interpretation on what I might actually be trying to say?  It's kind of ridiculous, but trials in communication really can be frustrating, and I wonder if we spent a bit more time listening, or taking things at face value, that there would be a whole lot less drama in the world from misunderstandings.  It makes me wonder what Jesus would do in instances like these!  

Friday, April 20, 2012

All is Well

For the last week or so I've been working on a book called Nephi's Isaiah, by Denver Snuffer.  I hope no one gets tired of hearing me source his writings.  I've found them to be quite impressionable in my mind, and have been quite prayerful in determining if I believe some of his interpretations of scripture.  Much of what he writes I feel very enlightened by.

One thing I read today really has me pondering. 

He writes about "Zion".  Latter-day Saints have scripture that defines Zion as the "pure in heart".  The author describes how we are nowhere close to achieving Zion, and we have much to repent of.  Much too much greed, selfishness, hard-heartedness, pride, etc.  This I can agree with.

He then discusses how there are no poor in Zion, and that we have not yet taken care of our poor.  He also quotes Nephi in saying that there are those that remain in their poor states because they lack learning.  I tried to believe this one, but thus far, I have a hard time understanding if this is to be taken on a local (Utah), national (US), or international scale. 

I could consider myself and our family poor.  We live in a mobile home in an area that many would call the "ghetto" of our town.  We have more student loan debt than I am happy with, and credit card debt to match the student loans.  Thus far, job prospects in this miserable economy are very, very scarce, and these bills exceed our current standard of living.

That said, I feel very wealthy.  Despite our debt, we have ALL of our needs met.  Gas for the cars (thank you, Mastercard), the most comfortable beds one could imagine (thank you SleepNumber), food in our fridge (thank you coupons), and for living in the "ghetto", I feel safe walking the street at night (Praise God for all!:).  We have electricity to light every room, clean, drinkable running water, and health care available to anyone.  (Granted, I have no health insurance, but that doesn't mean I can't get care if I need it, with multiple hospitals within a 10 minute drive.)  We have access to free libraries where I can read just about any book I want, on any topic I can conceive of.  And if I really needed help, there are a myriad of places I could count on to get help, should I be in desperate circumstances.  I can say, write, and think what I want, without fear of persecution or imprisonment.  I am so blessed, and so is every soul who lives in this land of freedom, even if they truly do live in a real ghetto.

When contemplating my rich and poor estate, I wonder, "Have I lacked because of my poverty?  Has our family not had the opportunity for a good education because of our lack of money?"  I think this is all relative.  I honestly can't grasp what Snuffer is talking about, unless he's talking on the global scale here.  Perhaps it is because I live in relative security, and have never truly been out on the streets.  Is this what he's talking about - that Nephi is warning us to help the homeless and hungry more?  Do we not have places that take care of these matters readily?  Or is he saying that we should be more individually invested in doing this care-taking for those around us? 

When it comes to education, I know there are millions of people who would LOVE to have the so-called "crappy" education people whine about being so abysmal in the US.  Perhaps in Chile or Ghana they don't have access to Visa or Mastercard to cover their school expenses not covered by Government sponsored student loans.  (My friend Jessie told me US student loan debt has now topped $1 trillion.  All for "education".)  

I went to political caucuses here in Utah a few weeks ago, and heard people whining about so many things.  Things they felt entitled to, like a "better" education, ensuring their "social security", and "medicare" and "medicaid".  It disgusted me, that in a room full of 90% Mormons, at least half of the room was more concerned about not losing their benefits than the effect their government dependence would have on the upcoming generation.  I really don't get Snuffer's suggestion here.  Perhaps he thinks that we, as Latter-day Saints, should be sponsoring one another in these endeavors.  Should I expect him, Brother Snuffer, a successful attorney, to aid me in paying off my education?  Is this what he was referring to?  {Maybe he was!  If that's the case, I welcome anyone with a load of money to feel free to contribute to our cost of education. :)}

Despite my lack of understanding, I have felt compelled lately to be more involved, globally.  Our world is so much smaller than it ever has been, in the sense that we can talk to someone around the world on the phone if we like.  Airplanes cross the globe daily, so sending assistance to those truly poor is just a matter of having enough postage to get the help there.  I don't feel like many here in the United States have a clue.  Many US Constitution lovers say the Constitution tells us to mind our own business, globally.  I submit that had the technology existed to assist those in other countries when the Constitution was constructed, the Founding Fathers certainly would not have prohibited us from assisting others because they're beyond our borders.  Is this what Nephi's talking about?  Would he be concerned that we stay within our man-made boundaries?

There was a man holding a sign asking for money here in Orem several months ago.  I got out of my car and offered him some of my groceries in the trunk.  He turned me down.  Was it that he wasn't hungry, but just wanted money?  I shake my head in confusion. 

Back to the start.  Brother Snuffer, since we can't comment on your blog, I'd surely like to know, if LDSs are not doing nearly enough to help those around them, what more do you suggest?  Is it that it isn't sufficient to donate monies to the tithe and offering funds?  Do we need to be more personally involved?  Or am I just completely and utterly spoiled, even in my lower class level of US living?  That's probably the case. 

And as far as education, my opinion is that anyone–at least in the United States–who puts forth enough work and is inquisitive enough has the world of opportunity available to them.  If not in your state, walk to another one.  Hitchhike, whatever.  At least here in America, you have the freedom to do so.  I thank my Father in Heaven for that freedom.  Many beyond our borders are not so fortunate.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Family History Bus: Genealogy Fan Charts

A few months ago I was introduced to a really awesome tool to help move forward in family history work.  It's called a fan chart. 

There are a lot of places you could make (or have made) a fan chart.  It's basically a diagram of one's family tree, starting with you at the center, and branching out to your parents, grandparents, and so forth.  What's great about it is that it allows you to easily see where there is information lacking, and it helps you get direction on where to begin research as a result of seeing those gaping holes. 

The one above was created at a site located at  It's super easy to use, especially if you have a account.  (If you're LDS, this is also the same as your account, as they've all been synced.)  Simply go to, click on login, and then once logged in, click on "create fan".  A box will pop up, asking if you want to open or save the file.  Upon opening it, you can view your personal pedigree. 

Some of us have a lot of information on our fans, and some have nothing.  If you have nothing, it means you haven't linked up to your ancestors on  This is not a problem, and is easily remedied by spending a bit of time on that website, connecting yourself to any listed deceased ancestors.  And if you don't think you have any listed there, you'll most likely be surprised to find that your ancestors are there - you're just not connected yet.  For me, it just took a short bit of time to link up, and voila!  Connected!

A very cool, useful resource in helping sort out one's genealogy.  Let me know if you give it a try! 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Health Bus: Couscous Salad!

Today on the health bus I wanted to share something fun I tried yesterday.  This:

It's a grain called couscous.  I was introduced to it a few years ago, and had never heard of it until the day I tried it.  It's an uncommon grain, and I'm only familiar with one brand that sells it, which is Near East.  It's SO fast and easy to make.  You simply boil water, add the couscous (plus a little oil and salt, if you like), turn off the heat, and 5 minutes later it's done!  SO easy!

For lunch yesterday, I added the following to my couscous:
  • chopped red bell peppers
  • diced celery
  • pineapple chunks
  • mandarin oranges
  • whole almonds
It was light, filling, and healthy as I could imagine.  My husband added garlic and butter and sauteed his a few minutes longer.  It's highly versatile and easy on the stomach.  I highly recommend it!

Comment question: Have you ever tried couscous?  What's your favorite thing to add to it or eat it with?

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Givens Hot Springs

So this week has been crazy!  I had hoped to update my Genesis Challenge each day, and it's been a challenge even to find time to read!  Our family took a Spring Break trip to visit my sister in Idaho, so not much of any blogging has taken place.

I did want to share a wonderful experience I had on the trip, besides the awesomeness of spending time with my sister.  (And even more awesome was the fact that we had a total of ZERO arguments.  YAY!)

On Wednesday, we were planning on leaving and coming home, but once we got on the road, I thought, "WHY are we leaving so early?  We're all getting along.  We're having a great time.  Why not stay another day?"  So we asked the kids if they were game (which of course they were), and decided to stick around another day.

That night, we visited a place called "Givens Hot Springs".  It's a little destination in the country, south of Boise/Caldwell area.  Just driving to find it reminded me of the country roads of Pennsylvania, where I grew up.  Loved it.

(photo source)

When we arrived, we got in the waters quite quickly.  It's set up like an old-school swimming pool.  It looks a little rickety and rustic, but you get in the water, and it feels like a hot bath.  Ahhhhh.

We swam about as long as our bodies could take it.  Then we'd get out, take a break, and get back in.  After a few times of this, my kids faces were turning rosey, so I figured it was probably time to get out.  Once we did, and we all got changed and headed home, the most wonderful feeling came over me.  It felt like my spirit was cleansed.  I could breathe deeply. 

I asked my sister if the water had minerals in it.  She thought it did, and if anything had the same elements of a "hot bath".  Having read a little about special baths, I learned that when you add things like baking soda, lavender, or other "cleansing" substances, the aura (or your energy field, spirit, whatever you want to call it) can be cleansed, leaving you with a natural high.  I'd do it once a week if I lived in Idaho! It was as if I'd been carrying weighted balloons, and their cords were all cut, so that the only balloons that remained were the ones that lifted me quite high into the sky.  Weird, but true. 

Anyways, just wanted to share.  If you live near natural hot springs or mineralized water, I recommend it as often as you feel so inclined.

I also wrote up a basic review (almost 2 years ago now) with pictures on my other blog.  Let me know what you think!

Comment question: Have you ever swam in hot springs?  Mineralized waters?  What did you think?  What was your experience like?  Please feel free to share!  I'd love to hear what works for you!

Friday, April 6, 2012

April 6, 2012, OT Challenge - Genesis

It's April 6, 2012.  It's also Good Friday, the day that Christians honor the crucifixion of the Savior.  Here in Utah we've had weather in the 60s/70s all week, but this morning we woke up to snow.  How fitting.  I never know what to feel on this day.  Remorse, sadness, and a bit of melancholy seem to top the list.  I know the Atonement is the reason we're all here, but it seems improper to be treating it like any other day. 

When reading the "Road to Emmaus" section of Eighteen Verses (by Denver Snuffer), he points out that despite the pain of Jesus' suffering, that those of us who approved of the Savior's plan "rejoiced".  He quotes this verse from the Pearl of Great Price:
"And behold, Enoch saw the day of the coming of the Son of Man, even in the flesh; and his soul rejoiced, saying: The Righteous is lifted up, and the Lamb is slain from the foundation of the world; and through faith I am in the bosom of the Father, and behold, Zion is with me."  (Moses 7:47)
Because of Jesus's Atonement, Enoch "rejoiced".  I don't think he was a hateful man.  He must have understood the significance of the sacrifice made and fulfilled.  It means so much for all of us. 

Old Testament (OT) Challenge:

I really enjoyed Eighteen Verses.  One of these days I'll write up an actual review.  The "Road to Emmaus" talked so much of the Law of Moses and events in the Old Testament, that I feel quite led to read the Old Testament.  I'm embarrassed to say that I've never read it, cover to cover, and I want to.  

That said, I'm inviting anyone who wants to join me in this challenge to do so.  I don't know if I should expect this challenge to last any given amount of time.  I am setting this as a monthly goal, and rather than use dates on a calendar, I'm going to go by the "lunar cycle".  It's a full moon this week, so I plan to read Genesis by the next full moon.  (In my King James version of the Bible, that's 78 pages.)  Then I'll go from there.   

(Liz Lemon Swindle's "The Road to Emmaus")

I hope everyone has a memorable and special Resurrection Sabbath!  Remember it's more than about bunnies, eggs, candy, and family dinners of ham and mashed potatoes!  xoxo 

Setting down the Expected Yoke

"For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."  (Matt. 11:30)  This is one of my favorite phrases in the scriptures.

Yesterday I wrote about letting go.  Today I ponder the concept, tied to the "yoke" of the Lord.

I've also been thinking a lot today about the word "expectations".  It seems as though it's an often overlooked concept in the field of emotional healing, but I think it's quite important in our society.

In the world we live in, generally people are *expected* to work for a living, to sustain themselves.  Faithful Christians are expected to obey the commandments.  Wives expect their husbands to participate in their family's lives, and vice versa.  I expect my kids to do their homework with little prodding.  My kids expect me to prepare their meals.  My husband expects me to accomplish a certain amount of housework each day, and I expect him to assist in nightly bedtime routines.

But what happens if none of those expectations are met and fulfilled?

It seems that when we place expectations on others, and they don't follow through, we tend to experience some form of anger.  The expectation has not been met, and instead we have to compensate for the other's negligence.  Why does it create frustration?  If I didn't communicate "rules" with my husband, why should I be upset if he decides not to participate in the bedtime routines?  What gives me the right to impose any frustration on him?  And would I be angry if he weren't home to participate in these expected routines?  I would be prepared to compensate for the work required.  

"For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."  God's expects us to keep his commandments, once we learn them.  If we choose not to fulfill them, to obey them, the burden is on us.  If we choose to follow him, he tells us his yoke is easy.  So why is it that so many Christians feel so overwhelmed in their faith?  What is lacking?  Why the overwhelm?  Why does the burden seem heavy, if the promise is that it is light?  What's missing?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Zacharias and the Atonement

After finishing the BoM last week, I've had a hard time getting back started in my studying.  I had lots of ideas on where to pick up with, but for a few days, I've been kind of stagnant.

On Sunday, I wrote over at JenHeadJen about a miracle in my family's life.  Today, I saw another miracle happen.  I was somewhat pondering the idea of asking for "signs".  In Denver Snuffer's "The Second Comforter", he talks about how signs work, in a general sense.  We are warned not to ask for signs, as "a wicked and an adulterous generation seeketh a sign" (Matt. 16:4), but Snuffer points out that once we have sufficient faith and believe, we can ask for signs.  He devotes some time in The Second Comforter to this concept, however, in reading one of his other books (Eighteen Verses), he points out that we should take care when asking for signs, as they may prove to bring a challenge to the seeker.  This was the case, he shows, with Zacharias asking the angel for a sign that his elderly wife will yet bear a son.

Having just read the account in Luke 1, however, I think perhaps there is perhaps more to explore in Zacharias' faith than even what Snuffer warns, regarding signs to the faithful.  It seems as though Zacharias, in speaking with an angel, still doesn't believe the details this message from a holy messenger.
  "And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I aknow this? for I am an bold man, and my wife well cstricken in years."  (Luke 1:18
So basically, Zacharias says, "Prove it."  This, he says, moments after the angel said to him, 
"...aFear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a bson, and thou shalt call his name John.
And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth."  (Luke 1:13-14)
Now I'm not going to criticize Zacharias, because I'm no scholar of scriptures, and by no means one to judge.  But I appreciate the opportunity to learn from his experience, to apply to my own "belief".  My interpretation is that for whatever reason, he didn't yet believe.  He had an angel, a messenger of God, telling him to "fear not", "thy prayer is heard", and now you're about to experience a miracle... quite similar to what the patriarch Abraham experienced.  His elderly wife – past menopause, basically – is going to conceive.  I am going to assume that the angel would have understood if Zacharias was just sheerly amazed, and saying, "Seriously?  Really?  Me, a lowly servant, beyond childbearing years, am finally going to have a son?"  

I trust God and His angels are reasonable beings, and it is easy to assume and know that they would have understood amazement at their sheer glory and power.  Even amazement at the thought of such a miracle.  But Zacharias was in the temple.  The holy temple.  There was no need for doubt as to whether or not this angel was of God, and there should have been little room for doubt as to the authenticity of the message.  It seems apparent that Zacharias just did not believe.  How do I know you're not just pulling my leg, Mr. Angel?  Prove it.

And then he left the temple, not being able to speak for many, many months.  Stuck dumb until John would be born.

At the end of Eighteen Verses, there is a talk that was given in Utah, and Snuffer included the full talk as an appendage to the book, although its content is not entirely applicable to the rest of the book.  In the talk, Snuffer expounds on the holy rooms of the temple, and what transpired in them, and how they were a preparatory testament to what would happen with the Savior as he lived out the Atonement.  Oddly enough, not even a week after finishing that book, I picked up Annalee Skarin's Ye are Gods, and picked up where I left off.  And where I picked up at, she began a discussion on the holy rooms of the temple, and what was done there, just as Snuffer did.  Both authors talked about Zacharias, and I thought how interesting, that while I never know each day where my studies will take me, here, a week before we celebrate the death and resurrection of Christ, I am able to be led to study two discussions of the activities done within the temple, Zacharias' qualifications to participate in this holiest of spaces, and how the temple ceremonies of old typified the Atonement of Christ.  

Not only learning this things was cool, but seeing how to apply them to my own life was eye opening.  I'm grateful, not only for the knowledge, but the way the Spirit led me to each account, particularly during the days before we remember these very important events.  

Pretty cool.  

Sunday, April 1, 2012

6 Month Challenge... TA DA!!!

I finished the Book of Mormon in less than 6 months!  And actually, it was less than 5 months!  I've never tried to read it that quickly, even when President Hinckley challenged us many years ago.  But our stake (group of about 10 congregations) issued this challenge, and I did it!  I WON!  :)

What did I win?  5 months of awesome edification.  And I loved every second of it.  The view I got of the Book of Mormon, reading it so quickly, was much more comprehensive, and it allowed me the intense blessing of delving into these inspired words, nearly every day.  I also have a greater confidence that when I do study in the future, I can cover a few verses or many verses, and still be enlightened.

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this book of scripture.

As I wrap up my 6 (5) Month Challenge of this book, I wanted to share what I found most interesting about the last chapter of the book.  Moroni knows that he's wrapping it up, and he leaves some gems to ponder. 

(photo source)
 In the beginning of the last chapter, he exhorts the reader to ask God if the things contained therein are true, and he explains how to understand the answer. (see Moroni 10:3-5)  But then he starts a whole new discourse on spiritual gifts.  It was awesome to read, as this was what I was focusing on as I read the Book of Mormon.  It seems evident to me that the whole Book of Mormon is dedicated to these wondrous events, of spiritual manifestations, testifying that God lives! 

Here's one of my favorite verses:

"And again, I exhort you, my brethren, that ye deny not the agifts of God, for they are many; and they come from the same God. And there are bdifferent ways that these gifts are administered; but it is the same God who worketh all in all; and they are given by the manifestations of the cSpirit of God unto men, to profit them." (Moroni 10:8)
The other day I was talking to a friend, who shared a marvelous gift that a relative had, of literally being able to heal, by taking the illness upon herself, and then somehow discarding it.  People teased that she was a witch, but my friend explained that she was a fully God-fearing, church-going woman.  While no one quite understood how she did it, I say it's a gift.  A spiritual gift, clearly given to "profit" those she knew.  What a blessing!

The rest of this chapter is truly marvelous.  I would share the whole thing if I could.  Like how Moroni goes on to talk about faith, hope, and charity, and how if we lack hope, we're in despair.  And if we're in despair, it's because of iniquity.  Wow.  The things worth pondering never end.

I love this book.  I hope if I haven't convinced those who read this that it's worth reading, that the Holy Ghost will someday testify that it's a powerful book, and written to bring all men (and women, of course) to Christ.  Amen, amen, and amen!

<3, Jen