Thursday, June 23, 2016

What Manner of "Hen" Ought Ye To Be?

Several years ago I had this crazy idea that we should raise some chickens. I had never raised chickens before. The idea of raising chickens and collecting eggs from the hens was something I always wanted to try. I thought it would be fun and a great experience for our four young children.
Before purchasing some chicks, I needed a chicken coop. I found some "do it yourself" plans and purchased all the materials to build a small home for chickens. Rika and the kids were kind of surprised. They asked, "Dad, are really going to build a chicken coop?" Then thy added, "Do you really know how?" I assured them I could do it and then invited them to help. Before long we had a home built chicken coop. It was not the best coop ever built, but it would do just fine for the six little chicks we planned to buy.
Soon we found six cute little chicks at the farmers market. They claimed they were all hens (female), but we soon found out identifying the sex of baby chicks is not an exact science. 
The kids loved our chicks. They would take them out and play with them like new little pets. Those cute little chicks grew and after several weeks started looking more like chickens. As they matured, to our great surprise, it became apparent that two of the six chicks turned out to be roosters! You know what that means. Crowing in the morning. Needless to say we did not need an alarm clock any longer. It also meant that any eggs laid by our hens, if sat on, could hatch new baby chicks. Soon the hens were big enough to begin laying eggs. Every morning we would collect 3-4 eggs from the hens. One summer day, after a short vacation, I went to see how the chickens were doing. I had not gathered any eggs for a few days and I noticed one of the hens had gathered all the other hen's eggs under herself and was sitting on them. All of them. She had maybe 10 or more eggs under her. I left them there thinking they would not be fresh. The next morning she had done the same thing and she repeated this exercise every morning for several days. Not knowing which eggs were just laid and which ones she had been sitting on for a few days, I was compelled to leave them all under her. Now if you remember, we had two roosters. That meant that the eggs she was sitting on may be fertile and possibly hatch new chicks. I was skeptical, but curious to see what would happen. Several more days passed and this hen continued to sit on about 20 eggs. I thought there is no way these are going to hatch. There are too many and they may not even be fertile. I was tempted to throw them out, but I decided to wait a few more days. The other hens and roosters had no interest in this mother hen or her eggs (which were their eggs too). She seemed all alone, fixed on her task of hatching those eggs.

Then, one morning to my great surprise, when I opened the door to the coop, several small chicks darted across the floor. Before we knew it, we had over a dozen little chicks running around the yard.
Then I discovered something that literally changed my life. While the others hens and roosters had no interest in the eggs before, they seemed to despise and pick on these newly hatched chicks. But as they began to chase and peck at these little chicks, the hen that sat on them jumped to their defense and gathered them back under her wings. Knowing of the danger outside their mother's care, the chicks soon learned to stay close to her and when they got too far away, the mother hen would pull them back under herself where they would be safe again. In reality, not all these chicks were from her eggs, but that did not matter to her. She had sacrificed herself for them and painstakingly sat in those eggs for days. She seemed determined to protect these chicks and gather them under her wings over and over again.
As I witnessed this with my real chickens, my mind reflected on the words of Jesus Christ when he said " often I have desired to gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and ye would not." (Matthew 23:37).

The Savior loves each of us and he is gathering his children even today. Like the hen I witnessed, He sacrificed his own life, that each and every person on this earth might be saved. In modern day scripture we read, "Listen to the voice of Jesus Christ, your redeemer, the Great I Am whose arm of mercy hath atoned for your sins. Who will gather his people even as a hen gathereth her chickens, even as many as will hearken to my voice and humble themselves before me, and call upon me in mighty prayer." (Doctrine and Covenants 29:1-2)

The gospel of Jesus Christ offers each of us peace and protection. Following the teachings of the Savoir does not guarantee we will not face trials, but it will provide us with the proper perspective and the reassurance and strength to face and overcome trails we will certainly encounter in our lives.
Watching the mother hen, gave me a renewed understanding of the role of Jesus Christ in my life. It reminded me of how He loves and cares for me. The invitation to all is to follow Him and strive to live a life patterned after His. When Christ appeared to the Nephites in the Book of Mormon, he asked the question, "What manner of men ought ye to be?" Then he answers, "even as I am." He is our example. He served and sacrificed for each of us. That day in my chicken coop, I saw a little bit of the example of Christ reflected in that crazy mother hen. 
I then had a silly thought. What manner of "Hen" ought I be? The answer was clear, just like that crazy mother hen. An example of Christlike love and service. Needless to say, I am still working on this, but grateful for the reminder provided by this mother hen many years ago.

The pictures are actual pictures of our children with the chicks and our little chicken coop.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Rika Ito McIntyre 信仰ー 私の改宗について

 信仰ー 私の改宗について My Faith - Conversion Story - I am a Mormon!

あれは私が東京の専門学校の入学試験のために夜遅く、勉強している時期でした。ある朝、眠い目をこすりながら自転車で通学中の私の隣を車が勢いよく通り過 ぎていきました。その時、危なく体のバランスを崩し倒れそうになった
私は、ハッとして、しっかり眠気が覚めました。もしかしたら、車にはねられていたのか もと。その日の夜は朝に起こった事が頭から離れず、もし今日死んでいたらどうなったんだろう。両親は悲しむだろうか、妹たちもこんな自分勝手な姉でも悲し んでくれるだろうか。死んだら今まで勉強してきたことが無駄になってしまう。そこから私は、なぜこの世に、生まれてきたのだろうと誰に聞いたらよいのかも わからないような大きな疑問を持つようになっていました。そんなある日、道端に無料英会話と書いたチラシを見つけ、東京の外語学校に行こうと思っていた私 は、さっそく友人を誘い参加してみました。その英会話ではアメリカから来ている若い先生達が親切に英語をそれぞれのレベルに分けたクラスで教えてくれまし た。数回通った頃、学校のクラブの先輩もここに集っていることを知り、彼女が私を日曜日の集会にも誘ってくれました。その時、いつもは楽しく英語を教えて くれてる先生達が末日聖徒イエスキリスト教会の宣教師として福音を教えるために日本に来ているのだとわかりました。そして彼女たちが教会の事について話し 始め、3つの質問をしてきたのです。1.私たちは生まれる前にどこにいたのでしょう。2、なぜこの地上に生まれてきたのでしょう。3.私たちは死後どこへ 行くのでしょう。その質問を聞いたとき私は、この人たちは私が探していた答えを持っていると感じました。それ以来、私はこの教会のお世話になっています。 ニックネームでモルモン教会と呼ばれたりもしますが、正式には末日聖徒イエスキリスト教会と言います。この教会に出会ったおかげで日々変わりつつある社会 のモラルに惑わされることなく、(実際、高校の同級生数人の友達は卒業後妻子持ちの方に誘われて付き合うこになって、困ってると) 私の好きだった、宝塚 のモットー、清く、正しく、美しく(?)を保ち、今の主人と出会い家族を持てたことが、大きな祝福の一つと感じています。皆さんの中にも、夜空を見て宇宙 の広さを感じるとき、大自然の雄大さを見るとき、この世には人間が作り出せない、それ以上のものがあると感じるときがあるかもしれませんね。また人生に対 して、虚しさを感じたり、人が信じられなかったりする人もいるかもしれません。そんな時は、私たちの霊の父である、神様(天の父)、そして私たちの霊の長 男であるイエスキリスト(救い主)の事を学んでみてはどうでしょう。宗教は心の弱い人が一人で生きていけなくて、何かに頼りたくて、そんな人のためにある もの、とある人が私に言ってきたことがありますが、私はこの教会に入って、弱い人達(人を頼りにする)より、強い人が多いのだとわかってきました。子供を 事故で無くした母親がいつか息子と会えること知っていると教会で話すとき、それは弱い母親の姿ではありませんでした。信じること(信仰)がこれほど人を強 くするものなのかと。私自身の子供たちにしても、それぞれに何かあっても自分たちはこの教えを通して結ばれているという、同じ所(天の父のもとに戻る)で いつか会えるということを教会に通い福音を通して学ぶことにより、わかっているのです。それにより、普段はケンカをしたりしていても、自然と一致すること ができます。人は宗教と聞くと嫌がる方も多いかもしれませんが、私の中ではすでに生活に密着しているもの。私たちがこの世を安全に進めるような(誘惑がな いわけではありませんが)道しるべとなるのが福音です。これを読んで教会の事がもっと知りたいと思った方はこちらをどうぞ。

Monday, June 20, 2016

Never Under Estimate Your Influence on Others

I had the honor of attended a funeral today for a friend who served as an LDS Bishop when I was a youth growing up in in Visalia, California. He was not my bishop, but when I needed to talk to a bishop, he was the bishop I called. He loved the youth and they loved him. He was a great example to me and had a tremendous impact on my life.

As I remember the influence he had on me, it just reinforced the notion that we should never underestimate the influence for good we may have on people as we strive to help and serve them. We may feel our little acts of service, concern and love do not make a difference, but I think in most cases, they make more of an impact and difference than we may ever know.

Bishop and Sister Schofield have 13 children. All were at the funeral. There were also over 50 grandchildren their. What a legacy! As I think of Bishop Schofield, I see a man who chose to serve God and his family first. He was successful in his business, but his business was a means to an end.  His treasure was his family and his testimony of the Savior, Jesus Christ. I can only imagine the treasures he has prepared for himself and his family in heaven.

Until we meet again Bishop!

Exercising Righteous Authority in Our Callings and in Our Homes - Leadership and the Priesthood

Talks and Lessons October 2007-  William A. McIntyre

Throughout my life I have served in various leadership roles, both within and outside of the church. I have also been led by many different people. At work I often have the opportunity to teach other leaders or managers about how to be more effective leaders. Through my studies and experiences, I have concluded that there are two main types of leadership authority. They can be distinguished by the way the authority of the leader is obtained and maintained.

There are two main kinds of authority (I am going to focus on this word a lot) exercised in any form of leadership or leadership role. One might be called formal authority.

Formal authority is defined by the position one holds. It may be an elected position or an appointed position. It may also be a calling held such as a bishop or a quorum leader, a class president or even one’s role as a father. The point being that one is in charge or has authority by virtue of one’s title or position in society or within an organizational unit. Formal leadership is important. It is usually respected, and should be so.

The other kind of authority is what some might call moral authority. Moral authority may or may not be held or related to an official position, calling or rank. Those with moral authority have earned the respect, and in fact command it, by virtue of their character as reflected in their actions and the example they set.

Both are important. When both are possessed, a leader can positively influence the lives of those he leads. Men usually aspire for formal authority, often not understanding the importance of moral authority. Leadership, by virtue of formal authority alone, will be short lived and ultimately yield unfavorable results. And to be a great leader, sometimes formal authority is not even necessary.

Let’s take minute and reflect on some historic figures to better clarify the meaning and importance of these two kinds of authority. First, can you think of someone who had formal authority, but lacked moral authority? You might think of the various dictators who have altered our world’s history by unrighteous use of their formal authority and insufficient character to uphold moral truths and freedoms granted to man by God. The Nazi leader Adolf Hitler would fall into this category. On the contrary, the great Indian leader Gandhi, never held a political position, yet led a nation out of repression to freedom based on his character and moral leadership. Moral authority without formal authority can be very influential and powerful.

There are some historical figures that Americans would be familiar with that had both moral and formal authority. George Washington comes to mind. He helped give birth to a nation while he held several formal positions. He was loved by the people. He was a man of high character and integrity. He possessed both formal and moral authority.

Perhaps the best example is the Savior, Jesus Christ. While here on earth, he did not hold formal political position, but Christ’s authority, to those that believe on him represents both formal and moral authority. By his exemplary life he proved his perfect character and by virtue of his divine origin and mission he holds formal authority as the Savior, Creator and literal Son of God, our Priest and King.

For us members of the church and those called to serve as leaders in the church, and those of us who are fathers, there is some valuable doctrine here for us to understand.

When ordained to the priesthood, we are formally given the power and authority to act in God’s name here on earth, to conduct and administer sacred ordinances in the name of the Lord. In effect, we have been given formal authority. When a calling and/or keys are given to preside or act in a leadership calling within that priesthood, it is still the formal authority that is given to us to act or preside here on earth in the name of, or in behalf of, the Lord.

Our moral authority is earned over time as we prove ourselves worthy through our actions and behavior and honor that priesthood we have been given. Unlike leaders here on earth, the Lord has made it clear that when we act in a way inconsistent with the formal authority of the priesthood that has been given us, He will revoke that authority and power from us.

D&C 121
We read in verse 35, …because their hearts are set so much on the things of the world, and aspire to the honors of men, that they do not learn this one lesson.
36. That the rights (authority) of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness.
37. They can be conferred upon us (formal authority), it is true; but when we undertake to cover our sins, or gratify our pride, our vain ambition, OR to EXERCISE CONTROL or DOMINION or COMPULSION upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, amen to the priesthood or AUTHORITY of that man.

We honor our priesthood and strengthen our moral authority by striving to model the behavior of the Savior. In general, members of the church will initially give any leader the benefit of the doubt. Bishops are respected because of the office they hold. As are other leaders in the church. But the truly effective leader, one who can call upon the powers of heaven to bless the lives of those he or she serves, is one who works to earn moral authority by living a Christ like life.

The Lord further counsels us in D&C 121 on how to live so that we can maintain and magnify the power of the priesthood and increase the moral authority associated with the callings we have.
41. No power of influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood (the formal authority), only be persuasion, long suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and love unfeigned (Moral Authroity).
42. By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile
43. Reproving betimes with sharpness, WHEN MOVED UPON by the HOLY GHOST; (not when emotional and angry) and then showing forth afterwards an INCREASE of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy.
44. That he may know that thy faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death.
45. Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; THEN shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of GOD and the DOCTRINE of the priesthood shall distill upon thy soul (MORAL authority comes) as the dews from heaven.

Then with that moral and formal authority come the following blessing and promise. Verse 46.
The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion, and thy scepter and unchanging scepter of righteousness and truth; and thy dominion shall be everlasting dominion, and without compulsory means it shall flow unto thee forever and ever.

Now lastly, I want to relate this to the most important leadership role we will ever have in time and eternity. That is our role as a parent and spouse. And I speak primarily to the husbands and fathers. Our role as priesthood holders extends to, and in fact defines, our role and responsibilities as a husband and father.

The Proclamation on the Family states:
By divine design, fathers are to preside over families (our formal role) in love and righteousness (moral leadership) and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children…Fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners.

Satan desires to destroy our moral authority as it pertains to our role as fathers and husbands. The quickest way to destroy the family is for, by his actions, a father to lose the respect or CONFIDENCE of his wife and children. When our actions are not consistent with the example of the Savior and the teachings of the gospel, then amen to the priesthood and authority of that man.

As priesthood holders, men who love their children and wives, we must not give in to temptation and engage in unchaste activity. We must not be quick to react and lose our tempers in the home, lest our children and wives esteem us to be their enemies. We must never do anything to cause our children or wives to doubt our commitment to them and our commitment to the Lord. (See JACOB 2:35)

If we have fallen down, or when we do make a mistake, quick and complete repentance is necessary to ensure or restore the lost trust, authority and confidence of your loved ones.

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it. (Ephesians 5:25)

May we all exercise righteous leadership in our callings and in our homes. And by doing so, bless the lives of those we lead and love by the power and the authority of the holy priesthood.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

God Does Answer Prayers! - Something I learned as a Young Boy

A few years ago my mother passed away. This is one of my favorite memories of her. This little event has had a huge impact on my life. This was the beginnings of my testimony of prayer. The year is around 1972 and the location, Visalia, Calfornia.

 - William McIntyre

I learned at a young age that our Father in Heaven really does answers prayers.  As a boy of about 8 or 9 years of age, I often biked around the block to the street behind my house to play with my friends. There was a large walnut orchard behind my house that separated my street from the neighborhood behind us. The trip around the block was not all that far, but with the extra distance due to the orchard, to a young boy it seemed like a major journey. To complicate the trip, there were some boys that lived in a house on the corner behind our street. They were the neighborhood bullies and passing by their house was a scary experience. I remember rounding the corner each time and riding as fast as I could in hopes that they would not see me or at least not be able to catch me.

One day after playing with my friends around the block, I was riding home and to my great fear, these boys were out in the street right in my path. It was as if they were waiting for me. They were your typical neighborhood bullies and I was sure they saw in me a younger boy they could take advantage of. They seemed to think the corner was theirs and they had the right to torment anyone who past it. I stopped as soon as I saw them. I was still a few hundred yards away. I remember sitting on my bike at the curb near the sidewalk. I was terrified. I thought they would beat me up for sure.

At first, I hoped they had not noticed me, but then I saw them start walking my way. I had to think quick. I imagined myself dropping my bike and making a mad dash for the front door of the house I was stopped in front of. Then I thought, but if they are not home and no one answers the door, I am a dead man!

I felt helpless and alone. The only thing I could think to do was pray. I prayed in my heart that they would not hurt me and that I could somehow get away. I could not see anyway out of this problem. I prayed harder asking my Father in Heaven to help me be safe and know what to do.

I stood for what seemed like a long time, but was probably only a minute or two, as they approached. The boys started yelling things at me as they got closer. Soon they were so close it was evident I would have to run or fight. I prayed for super human strength or at least super human speed so they would not be able to catch me.
As I stood my ground and they continued to tease me, I saw something that not only surprised me, but brought great relief to my situation. Just up the street behind the bullies I saw our old brown Dodge station wagon slowly turn the corner and start to make its way towards us. It was my mother. I gained that super human strength and told the boys they should leave me alone! When they saw the car and it was apparent that my rescue had arrived, the bullies quickly ran off back towards their house.

 My prayer was answered!

The funny thing is my mother had never come to pick me up before and I wasn't late. There was no real reason for her to come looking for me. When I asked her why she was had come, she simply said she felt like she should come and see where I was. It was then I knew. The Holy Ghost answered my prayer by speaking in a still small voice to my mother. I was never alone facing those bullies. Father had heard my prayer and His Spirit was with me and protecting me. And my mother was able to hear and act upon His prompting.

I learned that day that the God does hear and answer prayers. I learned he does not always answer them in the way we expect him to or sometimes want him to, but he does answer.  I also learned that he often answers our prayers through someone else. While I expected to have something happen to me, like great sudden human strength, the Spirit quietly answered my prayer by speaking to one who would listen, one in tune who could help me.  And she came to my rescue. How grateful I am for a mother who was able to hear the still small voice and have the courage to act on that prompting.

Since that day, I have never doubted that God is there. I have never questioned if he hears my prayers. I have also tried to act upon the promptings I feel from time to time in hopes that in some way, I might be able to be the answer to someone’s prayer like my mother was to mine that day I faced the bullies and she came to my rescue.
Yes, God is there and he hears and answers the humble and sincere prayer.


数年前、私の母は他界しました。これは、母の思い出話の一つとして私の好きなものです。この小さな出来事が、私の人生に大きなインパクトを与えました。これが私の祈りに対する証の始まりとなったからです。これは約1972年、カリフォルニア州、バイセリア市で起こりました。    (ウイリアム・マッキタイヤー)

私は幼くして、天の御父が 本当に私たちの祈りにこたえてくださることを学びました。当時8歳、9歳くらいの私は、家の裏手にある友達の家に自転車で遊びに出かけていました。家の裏手には大きな木の実の畑があり、その畑を超え、道を超えたところに友達の家がありました。その家まで、距離にすれば大したものではなかったと思うのですが、子供の頃はこの畑の脇の道を通り、友達の家にたどり着くのがとても長く感じられました。また、この道のりに加え、家の裏手から先に進んだ一つ目の角に住む数人の男子の事で、さらに気が重くなっていました。彼らは近所のいじめっ子たちで、彼らの家の前を通るのはとても怖いことでした。毎回、彼らの家の前を見つからないように、また捕まらないように急いでその角を曲がったのを覚えています。









あの日以来、私は神様の存在を疑ったことはありません。また彼が私の祈りを聞いているだろうかと思ったこともありません。また私自身、あの日、聖霊の囁きに耳を傾け、私を助けに来てくれた母のように 誰かの祈りにこたえられるように備えようとしてきました。


For My Friend Wade Fillmore - MORUMON.ORG Link

In honor of my good friend Wade Fillmore, who passed away about a year ago, I want to share this link to his website. Just before he passed away he gave me all the information he had developed and researched for his website. I have hoped to, in some form, continue his legacy of sharing gospel insight and information to members and friends of the church who are in, or love, Japan. In an attempt to fulfill my promise to Wade and to satisfy my own desires, I have decided to post information in both English and Japanese on this blog and promote it through various social media. I am not as scholarly or smart as Brother Fillmore, but I hope I can continue to inform and inspire people through what we share. With the link below, anyone should be able to continue to access and view all of Brother Fillmore's original posts. I look forward to posting some of his writings again on this blog.
William McIntyre's photo.

Below is from a post on Facebook last year with the message Brother Fillmore asked me to share.

This past week we lost a wonderful friend and great missionary to Japan and the Japanese people. Rika and I had the chance to visit with him and Joanne in Idaho a few weeks ago. What a great example this couple has been to us. We love and appreciate them. Brother Fillmore is no doubt carrying on the Lord's work among the Japanese in the spirit world right now. He was so excited to have the opportunity to do that. Our prayers are with your family Joanne. We take comfort in knowing all is well because of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
After our visit, Wade sent the following to me in both English and Japanese. He ask me to share it with all of you now. May the Lord bless you! Bill and Rika McIntyre
This is a wonderful testimony from a great missionary! English follows the Japanese.
地上で出会った全ての人に共通することで2つの重要なことがあります。その内の最初のことについて、ほとんどの人は知りません。二番目については、子ども を除いてすべての人が知っています。最初のことは、私たちは全員天の両親の子どもで、天の両親は私たちを愛しておられます。したがって、私たちは現在地上 にいるすべての人たち、すでに亡くなった人たち、そして前世からこれから生まれてくる人たちと兄弟姉妹の関係にあります。二番目は、私たちは地上に先祖が いるということです。例外はありません。まず、皆が知っているところから話しを始めたいと思います。『私の家族』(My Family)という小冊子は、私たちはすべて先祖がいるという真実からスタートしています。
私はこのように人々に話しをします。例えば、初めて会う散髪屋さんのケイトに、祖父母の名前を8人知っているかどうか尋ねます。驚くことに、彼女は知って いました。それは意外でした。なぜなら、彼女は鼻にリングをして、首の下に大きな刺青をしていたからです。彼女はその小冊子を喜んで受け取ってくれまし た。小冊子の裏表紙の下の方にD&C2章に書いてある言葉を添えてラベルを貼ります。ときおり、話しかける人にその聖句を黙読してもらうようにお 願いします。そして、自分がその章を正確に言えるかどうか確認してもらうようにしています。
私は、長年、教会の公式な召しと個人的な関わりを通して伝道の業に携わってきました。これまで関わってきた人たちに何を残せるのか考えてきました。彼らが 取っておきたいと思うようなもので、御霊が心に宿ってもらえるようなことです。私はこの小冊子は誰に対しても価値のあるものだと思います。この小冊子を受 け取った人が、冊子の中に書かれていることを少しでも行うならば、御霊を感じることでしょう。しかし、多くの人はそのことに気づかないかもしれません。
前世で、私たちは兄弟姉妹でした。私たちには、伴侶、子ども、姪、甥、伯母、伯父、従姉妹・従兄弟、先祖はいませんでした。唯一存在したのは、私たちの天 の両親です。私たちが地球に生まれてきたその瞬間から、地上での父方と母方の先祖を引き継ぐことになります。また、私たちには、伯母、伯父、従姉妹・従兄 弟がいることが多々あります。姪や甥がいる人もいます。大人になれば、伴侶や子どもを持つこともできます。(サタンとそれに従う者は霊の兄弟姉妹しかいま せん)
天父は、明らかに、私たちが互いに兄弟姉妹である関係に加えて上記のような親類を持つことを望んでおられます。前世において、私たちは、そのような親類を 持っていませんでした。天父は、親類関係が永続して永遠にそのような関係が続くことを望んでおられます。これを可能にするためには、神によって正式に承認 された方法、すなわち、任命を受けた奉仕者が神殿で執り行う儀式を通して親類関係を築く必要があります。また、私たちは、個人的に肉体的にも霊的にもふさ わしくなる必要があります。そうすることで、平安を得て、神と一緒に家族として暮らすことができます。
神はこの教えをモロナイという奉仕者を通してジョセフ・スミスに伝えました。その内容は、教義と誓約(Doctrine & Covenants)2章に記述されており、1823年9月21日と22日にかけて15時間のあいだ3度繰り返し伝えられました。『見よ、主の大いなる恐 るべき日が来る前に、わたしは預言者エリヤの手によってあなたがたに神権を現そう。彼は先祖に与えられた約束を子孫の心に植え、子孫の心はその先祖に向か うであろう。そうでなければ、主の来臨の時に、全地はことごとく荒廃するであろう。』
私たちから11世代さかのぼると2,046名の先祖が存在することになります。私たちは、彼らの子孫と関係しています。地球に生まれてくる者にとって、こ れが現実として存在します。天父とイエス・キリストは一人一人を愛しています。私たちが、天父とイエス・キリストを愛しているのであれば、彼らが愛する人 たちを愛することを学ばなければなりません。これは、たやすいことではありませんが、可能なことだと思います。自分に人を愛することが難しいと思う時に、 神はそれを可能するために愛を分け与えてくださいます。
天父の愛が偉大な理由となり、神は私たちを英知として神の霊の子どもになるようにしてくださいました。これを基に、偉大なる救いの計画を作られました。こ の計画には、地球の創造、背き、イエス・キリストの贖いが含まれます。イエス・キリストの贖いによって、私たちが日の栄の王国で家族として住みたいと心か ら望むのであればそれを可能にしてくださいます。この偉大な救いの計画は、末日聖徒イエス・キリスト教会によって地上で実行されます。
Saturday, May 09, 2015
We have two important things in common with all people ever associated with this earth. The first of the two most people don’t know. The second one everyone except young children knows. The first is that we are all children of Heavenly Parents who love us. Thus we are also siblings with everyone on the earth now, with those who have already passed away and with all those yet to come from the premortal world. The second is that all of us on the earth have ancestors. There are no exceptions. So I think we should start there with what everyone knows. The My Family booklet allows us to start with the truth that all of us have ancestors.
Here is what I say to people. For example, I asked my barber, Cait whom I had never met before, if she knew the names of her eight great grandparents. Surprisingly she did know. I thought she would not know because she had a nose ring and a large tattoo just below her neck. She was delighted to receive the booklet. I attach a label to add the words of D&C 2 at the bottom on the back of each booklet. Sometimes I ask those I am talking to read along silently and check me to see if I can quote D&C 2 correctly.
I have been involved in missionary work for many years with formal callings and privately. I have wondered what we could leave with someone and everyone we talk to that they would want to keep and which would invite the Spirit to come into their hearts. I think this booklet is something that can be left with almost anyone. If they do anything with it, they will feel the Spirit though many may not recognize yet it.
In the premortal world we were all siblings. We had no spouses, children, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins or ancestors except our Heavenly Parents. When we come to earth, the minute we are born, we inherit all of the our father’s ancestors and all of our mother’s ancestors. In addition, in many cases we will have aunts, uncles, and cousins. A few of us will have nieces and nephews. As we grow up, we can also have spouses and children. (Satan and his followers only have spirit siblings.)
Obviously, Heavenly Father wanted us to have these relatives in to being siblings with everyone. We did not have these relatives in the premortal world. He wants us to make these relationships permanent so they can continue into the eternities. To do this, we must have our relationships formally recognized by God through ordinances performed by His appointed servants in temples. We must also individually become worthy and thus comfortable, both physically and spiritually, to live as families in the presence of God.
God taught this through his servant Moroni when he gave Joseph Smith the scripture which is the second section of the Doctrine & Covenants three times within 15 hours on the 21st and 22nd of September 1823. “Behold I will reveal unto you the priesthood by the hand of Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, And the hearts of the children will turn to their fathers. If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming.”
So when our hearts are not turned to our fathers, the ordinances for ourselves and those connected to us in the world of Spirits will not be performed and if they are not performed, will not the whole earth utterly wasted at the coming of the Lord?
Our Heavenly Father also wanted us to be connected permanently with many people besides our blood relatives. And we can be. For example, we share our grandparentship with two other people, the parents of our children’s spouses. As great grandparents, we share that relationship with six other people, up a generation we share it with 14 more, etc.
In total, eleven generations back from us, we have a 2,046 ancestors. So we are connected with all of their descendants. That is the way things are for every one of us earthlings. And our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ know and love each of them. If we love Them, we should learn to love whom they love. This is not easy, but I know it is possible. And when I seem short on love, Heavenly Father lends me some of His.
Our Heavenly Father’s love is the great cause that moved Him to arrange for us, as intelligences, to become his spirit children. This led Him to establish the Great Plan of Salvation which includes the creation of the earth, the fall, and the atonement of Jesus Christ which makes the redemption possible for all of us to return to live as families in the Celestial Kingdom if that is what we truly want. This great plan of salvation is administered on this earth by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
We believe that through the atonement of Christ all mankind may be saved through obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel. How deeply grateful I am for the loving kindness of our Father and his Son.

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Saturday, June 18, 2016

The Keys of the Kingdom, Once Lost, Have Been Restored!

While the Savior was on the earth He established His church and gave the authority to preside over that church to His apostles. That authority is know as the priesthood. The "Keys" of the presiding authority of the priesthood were given to the chief apostle, Peter.

Christ Giving the Keys to Peter is a fresco by the Italian Renaissance painter Pietro Perugino, executed in 1481-1482 and located in the Sistine Chapel, Rome.
And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
Matthew 16:17-19

This painting by Guido Reni around 1626 depicts Christ giving the "Keys to the Kingdom" to Peter. I took this picture while visiting the Louvre in Paris and it caused me to ponder again the importance of this event. The link below is of another beautiful painting of this event.

Peter Paul Rubens painted this work for Nicholas Damant (c. 1531-1616)  The painting illustrates two separate stories in the New Testament which establish a special position for Peter among the Apostles. In the Gospel of Matthew, Christ charges Peter with the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven: “whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosened in heaven”. In the Gospel of John, Christ, after his death appears to the Apostles and tells Peter to ‘feed his sheep.'

This a statue of Peter at the St. Peter Basilica in Vatican City, Rome. Peter is seen holding the key given him by the Savior. I took this picture in 2012.

The fact that Peter was given the "Keys" and presided over the early church is well documented. However, the early apostles and members of Christ's church also knew that eventually an apostasy would occur making a restoration of the gospel necessary before Christ's second coming in the last days. Note these several passages from the Bible.

2 Thessalonians 2:1-5

1 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him. 2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. 3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?

Acts 20:
28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. 29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. 31 Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.

1 Timothy 4:
1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; 2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; 3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. 4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: 5 For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.

2 Timothy 3:
1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God;
5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

2 Timothy 4:
3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

As foretold, eventually the church and organization that Christ established was fragmented and the authority to use those priesthood "keys"was lost. In the subsequent years (centuries) several different interpretations of Christ's teachings began to emerge resulting in many sects of Christianity. It was in the early 1800's when a young man confused by so many conflicting doctrines, decided to ask, through prayer, for guidance from his Father in Heaven.  

The young man, Joseph Smith, through a simple prayer of faith opened the heavens to the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Several years after his initial prayer and vision, he recorded the following regarding the restoration of the "Keys" of the Priesthood.

From Joseph Smith - History
72 The messenger who visited us on this occasion and conferred this Priesthood upon us, said that his name was John, the same that is called John the Baptist in the New Testament, and that he acted under the direction of Peter, James and John, who held the keys of the Priesthood of Melchizedek, which Priesthood, he said, would in due time be conferred on us, and that I should be called the first Elder of the Church, and he (Oliver Cowdery) the second. It was on the fifteenth day of May, 1829, that we were ordained under the hand of this messenger, and baptized.

Doctrine and Covenants 27
12 And also with Peter, and James, and John, whom I have sent unto you, by whom I have ordained you and confirmed you to be apostles, and especial witnesses of my name, and bear the keys of your ministry and of the same things which I revealed unto them; 13 Unto whom I have committed the keys of my kingdom, and a dispensation of the gospel for the last times; and for the fulness of times, in the which I will gather together in one all things, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth;

The "Keys'" of the Priesthood have been restored to the earth and with them the authority to perform the necessary saving ordinances to open the doors of heaven for all of God's children. Just as the atonement and resurrection of Christ is the "Good News" of the gospel, the fact that the authority for man to act in God's name to perform ordinances, that allow us to covenant with God, is also news worth sharing indeed! For it is through these ordinances and covenants that we become partakers of the atonement and receivers of the blessings of the gospel of Jesus Christ.