Hearken Unto the Words of Christ

Nephi left Jerusalem with his family 600 years before Christ was born, his father Lehi leading them. Years later after recording the "things of the ministry" including many prophecies and the words of Isaiah as well as Nephi's brother Jacob, he leaves us with this firm testimony and promise.

2 Nephi 33 (The Book of Mormon)

10 And now, my beloved brethren, and also Jew, and all ye ends of the earth, hearken unto these words and believe in Christ; and if ye believe not in these words believe in Christ. And if ye shall believe in Christ ye will believe in these words, for they are the words of Christ, and he hath given them unto me; and they teach all men that they should do good.

11 And if they are not the words of Christ, judge ye—for Christ will show unto you, with power and great glory, that they are his words, at the last day; and you and I shall stand face to face before his bar; and ye shall know that I have been commanded of him to write these things, notwithstanding my weakness.

12 And I pray the Father in the name of Christ that many of us, if not all, may be saved in his kingdom at that great and last day.

13 And now, my beloved brethren, all those who are of the house of Israel, and all ye ends of the earth, I speak unto you as the voice of one crying from the dust: Farewell until that great day shall come.

14 And you that will not partake of the goodness of God, and respect the words of the Jews, and also my words, and the words which shall proceed forth out of the mouth of the Lamb of God, behold, I bid you an everlasting farewell, for these words shall condemn you at the last day.

15 For what I seal on earth, shall be brought against you at the judgment bar; for thus hath the Lord commanded me, and I must obey. Amen.

Let us believe in Christ. Let us hearken to his words. Let us pray to the Father in his name. Let us partake of his goodness, of the atoning sacrifice he made for us. He knows our sorrows. Let us set aside our sins and take upon ourselves his yoke. He pulls harder than any man. And if we do, life and its many burdens will be made lighter, easier. And we will meet him again and fall down at his feet to worship him, our tears bathing the prints of the nails in his feet. And he will gently pull us up to with strong arms to receive his loving embrace and hear the words, "Well done, my good and faithful servant. Enter into my rest."

What is Happiness?

The Prophet Joseph Smith taught, “Happiness is the object and design of our existence; and will be the end thereof, if we pursue the path that leads to it; and this path is virtue, uprightness, faithfulness, holiness, and keeping all the commandments of God” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith [1976], 255–56).

I believe him.

Keith D. Jensen - My Father

Dad is a mountain of a man. At 79 his grip is still firm. His hands are made from the large bones and rawhide of decades of daily hard work. His eyes pierce you as he looks through your exterior to see your soul with love beyond comprehension, as if to say, "It'll be alright. Just keep'a goin'."

Born the second youngest of four boys and four girls, Dad grew up working at the saw mill and on the farm. His own father suffered from allergies and alcoholism, so Dad spent his teen years taking care of the farm by himself. He learned quickly to rely on himself to solve the problems that come with running a farm. 

As a boy he responded to the invitation of a neighbor to attend church and became a devoted servant of God, attending his meetings, reading the scriptures and serving others. He wanted to serve a mission but funds were scarce. Instead he attended Carbon College, married his high school sweetheart, LaRue McElprang, and started a family.

Dad and Mom raised eight kids on a farm just outside of Roosevelt, Utah -- Todd, me, Ruth, Melissa, Rebecca, Maria, David, and Leo. We all learned to work and shoulder responsibility. We learned to love one another and to get along (not always perfectly). 

Dad raised a lot of hay. He fed some of it to his own cows and horses. He sold most of it to pay the bills. And he gave much of it away to neighbors who promised to pay one day but never could. He never bothered them about it. Eventually, when David was old enough to go to school, Mom went to work at the hospital to make up for the dwindling of the farm income. But Dad never gave up on the farm. He worked and worked and some years were good and others not so much.

As Alzheimer's began to take it's toll, Dad did the bravest and most humble thing I have ever witnessed. He agreed with Mom to sell all the equipment he had accumulated over the years to pay off the farm and house and hang up his farmer's hat. It may have been the most difficult thing I ever saw him do. He put on a brave face as friends, neighbors and relatives attended the auction to take away the instruments of his livelihood, the tools and machines that had come to symbolize and define so much of his life.

Even then for years after that, Dad would put on his hat and coat twice a day to venture out to the corrals to feed the dwindling number of horses and cows. He wore a trail through to the ground making this trip more than 700 times a year. This ritual is such a part of him, that he still puts on his hat and coat to go out. He gets as far as the garage and cannot remember what's next, eventually returning to the house, not knowing why.

Now with his memories beyond his reach, I introduce myself to him when I visit and tell him, "I'm Tyler. I'm your son," and he smiles with sweet surprise and joy, hugs me and asks, "Did I do a good job?" 

Yes, Dad, you did a very good job!

Happy Father's Day!

Wild Horses on Missouri Creek

A few days ago, we found this bay stallion with his two mares just over the Colorado border on Missouri Creek near Dragon, Utah, an old gilsonite mining ghost town. As we stopped to watch them, he nervously paced back and forth protecting the mares that had trotted away when we pulled up. I was impressed by his defiance of the threat and his willingness to protect his own.

His beautiful bay coat is covered in dry mud which I'm sure was a cool roll in a recent rain slicked earth. The black mane and overall conformation makes me think he's descended from a fine Morgan line.

I wonder if we look out for those we love as well as this amazing stallion does his small harem. Are we willing to stand up to forces we do not recognize or understand? Do we overcome our own fears to watch over those who rely upon us? What can we learn from the Stallion of Missouri Creek?

Be Not Afraid

In Matthew chapter 25, Jesus relates the parable of the talents. A talent then was a great deal of money. One received five, another two and another one. When their master returned to see what they had done, he found the first two had been faithful and worked hard to improve their lot. The third responded thus:

"And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth:" (verse 25)

Let us not be afraid. Let us go and do as the Lord has commanded us. Let us use the gifts he has given us, exercising faith to act and minister to the needs of others. If we set aside our fear, we will be blessed as we build on our faith to serve the Lord and his children.

Trying to Be a Latter-day Saint

The name of the church I attend is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Paul called the members of the church in the meridian of time saints. Those who believed in Christ and sought to understand and practice the gospel of repentance which he had taught were known then as saints. Not because they had performed miracles but because they relied on the miracles of Christ, especially that of the Atonement.

They were not perfect. Nor are his latter-day saints. As we strive to become like him, let us remember the words of one who serves him.

“If we don’t try, we’re just latter-day sinners; if we don’t persevere, we’re latter-day quitters; and if we don’t allow others to try, we’re just latter-day hypocrites” ~Dale G. Renlund, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

And They Followed Him

While Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho, there were two blind men sitting by the road. Think of them as ourselves. Are we too blind?

These men called out to Jesus and begged for mercy. He stopped and asked them what they wanted him to do for them. Of course they asked to receive their sight. Matthew records the Master's response in this way.

Matthew 20:34 (KJV): "So Jesus had compassion on them, and touched their eyes: and immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed him."

In such a short sentence Matthew conveys some great lessons. First, is the Lord's great capacity for compassion. Second, that Christ will touch those on whom he has compassion. Third, that we can receive immediate blessings from Him through faith. And finally, that the mark of true disciples who have received their sight is that they follow Him.

Do you call out to Him in faith? Will you see? Will you follow Him?

Recognize the Lord in Our Lives

When Jesus entered Jerusalem for the last time, he looked out upon her and wept for its wickedness and imminent destruction. These were his people and they, except for a few, had not recognized him, as had been prophesied, yet he had compassion on them.

Luke 19 (KJV)

41 ¶ And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it,

42 Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.

43 For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side,

44 And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.

I hope that we will each learn to recognize the works of the Lord in our own lives, that we will embrace him and love to serve him as we serve others.

Take a moment today to recognize someone in your path as one you can lift a little with a kind word or a hug. Listen for a moment and see them as the Lord might. Then you will bring a little of the Lord's peace into their life and your life.