26 October 2009

The Power of the Word

What is the real power of the sword over the written word? Edward Bulwer-Lytton was the author who wrote that "the pen is mightier than the sword" and I really think that he has a point. I think it is difficult to measure the influence that the written word has against that of wars and fighting. I don't think that the correlation is exactly one-to-one. However, I know that the influence of the written word lasts far longer than that of a war. Children can never experience what their parents experience, but we can all read something truly meaningful and feel the significance of the words. We can all have an experience with literature and with words. Think of the Bible, probably the most influencial book in all of history. It has lasted not just for generations, but for centuries. The power of the words in that book has not diminished over the years, but has maintained a significance for all those who read it.

The same is true of the Book of Mormon. I saw the influence of the words in that Book in the lives of people that I taught while I was in Portugal. When they actually read and tried to understand what was written there, a profound change occurred within them. They were happier. They were different. They were never the same after they read from the Book of Mormon, but changed for the better. How can anything even begin to compare with that kind of change, a change so deep that it causes an entire life change? Truly, the written word has a power that cannot be measured.

The past week I went to a museum here in Provo. It's called the Crandall Printing Museum and I've actually been wanting to go there for a long time. They walked us through the history of the Gutenburg printing press and the process of printing on that particular press. Then we met Benjamin Franklin and he showed us his press and told us about the influence of the words he printed on his press. Then we talked about the printing of the Book of Mormon. The whole experience was more profound for me than I had imagined. I think I had forgotten the power that words can have. When I was there I could begin to see the vision of all that the words of the Book of Mormon and the Bible have done for us throughout time.

When we talked about the printing of the Book of Mormon, I was reminded of how miraculous its printing was. Who could have even imagined printing 5,000 copies of a book in that day? And who would have imagined doing it in such a short period of time? What a miracle! The influence of the Book of Mormon cannot be measured and it is all thanks to the God of Miracles who made it all happen.

It is no wonder when we realize the importance of the word that we are commanded to keep journals and histories. Who can know what influence our own words may have in someone's life?

17 October 2009

Right Where He Wants Us

I find that I am constantly amazed at how the Lord works in patterns. When I read in the scriptures, it is so blatant all that He does for us. And He doesn't just do it once. He does it again and again and again. Take Joseph of Egypt, for example. Poor Joseph is imprisoned time and again. He was never guilty of anything, but he was consistently put in jail or servitude. I'm sure he must have thought at times, "why me?" But there were things that he needed to learn through his experiences. Things that the Lord needed to teach him, as well as the fact that Joseph needed to be in that jail, so that he could interpret the dream of the butler, so that he could then interpret Pharaoh's dream and save his family from the famine. There is a reason for the patterns in our lives. I know that I don't see the why behind what happens in my life at first, but I almost always do later.

In class we compared the people of Moses to the pioneers. I had thought about this before, about how the Mormon pioneers had made a trip like the people of Moses. Actually, I had thought about it with Lehi's family, as well. It is incredible to me how this pattern is so prevalent across time with the people that the Lord calls. He asks them to gather and then asks them to move until they are right where He wants them to be. I can't imagine the sacrifice that must have taken for the pioneers. Many times they had to leave their extended families behind to go be with the saints wherever they were. They gave up their whole lives to follow what a prophet had asked them to do. I thought that serving a mission was a sacrifice, but I got to come back to my life and my family and all that I had known before. The pioneers didn't. While I cannot even imagine that kind of sacrifice right now, I am grateful for all that they did sacrifice so that I could have the gospel in my life and the joy it brings me.

13 October 2009


I had an interesting experience on Sunday. In my Doctrine and Covenants class on Thursday we talked about section 25. The whole lecture was fascinating as we talked about how this revelation, given from the Lord to Emma Smith, changed how women were viewed in the Church. We are to be equals to men throughout all the world. It isn't always that way, but the Lord was teaching us important principles and helping us to know how we should treat one another. We went over various verses about this topic and I loved the analysis of the section. I had never really given it much thought before, but the Lord really teaches Emma and Joseph about equality of gender.

But this wasn't all we talked about. We discussed the importance of the hymns. I love the hymns, but I hadn't really seen how important they were before. We do sing hymns all the time. We may not read a scripture every time we have a lesson, but we always sing a hymn to open and close. They must be pretty important to the Lord if He wants us to sing that much. Verse 12 says, "For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads."I love this verse. The Lord delights in the hymns and sees them as prayers.

This past Sunday was Fast and Testimony meeting, where we have the opportunity to get up and testify of what we know to be true. I did not get up this Sunday to share my testimony, but I was very edified listening to everyone else. For the closing hymn we sang "Testimony." I was humbled as we sang this hymn. The words seemed to penetrate my heart and they actually took on meaning for me. Here are the words to this hymn:

The witness ofhte Holy Ghost,
As borne by those who know,
Has lifted me again to thee,
O Father of my soul.

I know that thou are in the heav'n.
I know the Savior reigns.
I know a prophet speaks to us
For our eternal gain.

My eyes are we; my heart is full.
The Spirit speaks today.
O Lord, wilt thou my life renew
And in my bosom stay.

As testimony fills my heart,
It dulls the pain of days.
For one brief moment, heaven's view
Appears before my gaze.
--Hymns 137.

Many times I sing the hymn and don't give too much thought to the words, focusing mostly on the music. But as I sang this hymn the words seemed to say exactly what I wanted to say. This hymn is a testimony and as I sang, I knew that the Lord was hearing this hymn as a prayer unto Him. I didn't need to get up on Sunday to bear my testimony, I was able to do so through singing this hymn with my heart really in it.

06 October 2009

In my Doctrine and Covenants class we talked about section 20, which is referred to as the Articles and Covenants of the Church of Christ. I honestly had never heard that before. I knew that verse 37 has the qualifications for baptism, so it makes sense. Learning about this made me reflect on my mission again. The Lord always works in a very organized way. On the mission there was a very precise way to do things, very specific rules to help us serve better. This is true for the whole church. Joseph was just figuring out how to be a prophet and how the Lord wanted it to be done. How great it is that the Lord gave him specific instructions on how things were supposed to be run. The Lord always tells us what He expects of us, rather than letting us wonder. Sure, we don't know everything, like what is going to happen tomorrow, but He does let us know what He expects of us. What a great pattern to follow. This section was instructions from a merciful Father, who wanted His servant, Joseph, to know what was expected of him, so that he could learn and grow.