Give the Gift of Salvation

imageI got a cute e-mail from Family Search this morning. Did I know, they asked, that one of my ancestors is mentioned in the Joseph Smith Papers?

Before opening the e-mail, I considered who they might be talking about. Perhaps it was Jonathan Holmes, who helped secretly bury Joseph’s remains after his death, then helped Emma bury Joseph’s body in February 1845. It could have been Elvira Annie Cowles [Holmes], who was governess in the Smith household, treasurer of the Relief Society, and eventually one of Joseph’s plural wives. Joseph Leland Heywood, a successful merchant from Quincy Illinois, spent one day with Joseph Smith in December 1842, agreeing to be baptized in the frozen river that very night. Or it could have talked about the Bells, Scottish converts who helped build the temple, or the DeLongs, converts who arrived in Nauvoo the day the bodies of Joseph and Hyrum were returned from Carthage. Or it could have mentioned John Taylor, who was shot at Carthage jail along with Joseph and Hyrum.

But no. Continue reading

The Fourth Sunday of Advent

Advent is a time of preparation for the birth of Jesus Christ and the celebration of Christmas. This year my family and I have been celebrating the Festival of Advent with devotionals each Sunday night. Find our FIRST, SECOND and THIRD weeks devotionals by clicking the links.

One Christmas tradition we do in our family is to open a book each night in December and read it. It’s a good thing for me, because it’s the only time I am consistent about reading to my children. Although I will admit this week we’ve missed more than a few nights. Over time it’s my goal to replace the five copies of Clement Clarke Moore’s “Night Before Christmas” with books that center more on Jesus Christ and the events of His birth in Bethlehem.

Two books that we enjoy are The Animals’ Christmas Eve by Gail Wiersum and In The Dark Streets Shineth by David McCullough. Continue reading

Teachings of Pres Ezra Taft Benson – Kindle version

The Church, so far, only has a PDF version of the new PH/RS manual for 2015. It works great on large screens, but a 7″ tablet isn’t a large screen.  So, I’ve converted it over to Kindle MOBI format for anyone wanting it for their personal use.

It is available here: Pres Benson Manual

Also, I have the 2014 Oct General Conference in a PRC format (early MOBI format) available here: Oct 2014 General Conference.

Enjoy!!

What does the possible normalization of relations with Cuba mean for the Church?

The Church has very quietly been growing in Communist Cuba. There are now two branches in the capital, Havana. Elder Bednar dedicated the country for preaching the Gospel in February 2012, and Elder Holland visited again this summer. The Church News quoted Elder Holland as saying: “Although we are small in number, each member is precious to us, and Cuba is precious to us.”

Elder Holland visited the site of Elder Bednar’s dedication, which overlooks Havana, and said, “the promises of the dedicatory blessing are unfolding.”

President Obama’s announcement Wednesday that he would seek the normalization of relations with Cuba seems to be coming right on schedule. It is easy to imagine that increased travel and trade with the United States would very soon lead to missionaries and strong growth of the Church in the coming years.

This story from the Deseret News has some interesting tidbits.

Though it is not registered, the Cuban department of religious affairs welcomed the church in 2004, when the first branch was established, and it and other faiths have helped the church find locations for worship.

Elder Holland also met with government officials in June.

That doesn’t mean missionary work is likely to happen quickly, Martinich added. In recent decades, the church generally has moved meticulously before opening a mission in a country where it hasn’t had one before.

“I wouldn’t imagine a mission there for a few years,” Martinich said. “What’s more likely to happen is that, when and if Cuba gives the church official recognition, missionaries would be reassigned from another mission,” such as one in the Dominican Republic.

One first already happened three years ago: A Cuban native from the Havana Branch served an LDS mission in the United States beginning in 2011.

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The Third Sunday of Advent

The Festival of Advent is celebrated the four Sundays before Christmas. It is a time of preparation for the birth of Jesus Christ. This year, my family is celebrating Advent with activities and a devotional each Sunday night. Read about our first week HERE and our second week HERE.

Helama 14 5Last night as we were setting up our Christmas tree, my six year old son asked me if we believed in the star on the top of the tree. I thought it was a very insightful question for a six year old to ask. I said yes we do believe in the Christmas Star and asked him, what does the star symbolize? He said, “It’s Jesus’ birthday star.”

We went on to talk about the signs of Christ’s birth, specifically the signs given to the people on this continent by the prophet Samuel the Lamanite. In Helaman 14, we read:

2 And behold, he said unto them: Behold, I give unto you a sign; for five years more cometh, and behold, then cometh the Son of God to redeem all those who shall believe on his name.

3 And behold, this will I give unto you for a sign at the time of his coming; for behold, there shall be great lights in heaven, insomuch that in the night before he cometh there shall be no darkness, insomuch that it shall appear unto man as if it was day.

4 Therefore, there shall be one day and a night and a day, as if it were one day and there were no night; and this shall be unto you for a sign; for ye shall know of the rising of the sun and also of its setting; therefore they shall know of a surety that there shall be two days and a night; nevertheless the night shall not be darkened; and it shall be the night before he is born.

5 And behold, there shall a new star arise, such an one as ye never have beheld; and this also shall be a sign unto you.

6 And behold this is not all, there shall be many signs and wonders in heaven.

7 And it shall come to pass that ye shall all be amazed, and wonder, insomuch that ye shall fall to the earth.

8 And it shall come to pass that whosoever shall believe on the Son of God, the same shall have everlasting life.

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