The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints consider the Book of Mormon to be a sacred volume of scripture that is comparable to the Holy Bible. The Book of Mormon is not intended to replace the Bible,nor does it detract from the teachings of the Bible, but rather its teachings enhance those doctrines and principles that are taught in the Bible.It is exactly as its name declares, Another Testament of Jesus Christ. Therefore, Latter-day Saints testify that the Bible and the Book of Mormon together present an irrefutable testimony of the Divine Redeemer and Savior of the World, and the immensity of His love for all people.
To date the entire book of Mormon has been translated into 85 languages, and selections of the Book of Mormon have been translated into an additional 25 languages. Thus, the volume is made available to many people in their native tongue, but the question that begs an answer is, “How many people have ever read the Book of Mormon or know anything about it?”
In 2014, three returned missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – Kyson Kidd, Jacob Justice and Jake Christensen – set out on a new mission to find an answer to that exact question. The culmination of their quest was the creation of a video called “What is the Book of Mormon?” which was published on YouTube on 1 January 2015, and has already received over 10,000 views.
Those who understand the eternal blessings which come from the temple know that no sacrifice is too great, no price too heavy, no struggle too difficult in order to receive those blessings. There are never too many miles to travel, too many obstacles to overcome, or too much discomfort to endure. “The Holy Temple- A Beacon to the World,” President Monson April 2011. You can read the full text of President Monson’s message or watch the video of the message.
When the Córdoba Argentina and Payson Utah Temples are dedicated in 2015, they will be added to the list of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ 140-plus operating temples throughout the world. The Córdoba Argentina Temple will be dedicated 17 May 2015, and the Payson Utah Temple will be dedicated 7 June 2015. They are two of 14 temples under construction and featured on the infographic below.
Webster’s dictionary defines the word pioneer as “a person who plays a leading part in the early development of something.” Therefore, in the truest sense of the definition, as the only person in my immediate family who is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I am a pioneer. And so, I would like to take just a few moments to share some of my thoughts about being a pioneer member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
In Ecclesiastes 3:1 we are taught, “To everything there is a season, a time to every purpose under the heaven.” I strongly believe that I am the person that has been chosen, and given the responsibility by my Heavenly Father for such a time as this to lead the rest of my family to the saving knowledge of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is a responsibility that I dare not take lightly.
I am reminded of the words of President Lorenzo Snow:
You exert a certain degree of influence, and be it ever so small, it affects some person or persons, and for the results of the influence you exert you are held accountable. You, therefore, whether you acknowledge it or not, have assumed an importance before God and man that cannot be overlooked.” (JD, 18:299).
And so, I have a responsibility to be a positive influence on my family. Along those same lines, I must also set the example that I wish my family to follow. I am reminded of the words of President Harold B. Lee:
You cannot lift another soul until you are standing on higher ground than he is. You must be sure if you would rescue the man that you yourself are setting the example of what you would have him be. You cannot light a fire in another soul unless it is burning in your own soul.” (CR, April 1973, p.178.)
One of the ways that I can be a positive influence and set the example that I should before my family, is by having and maintaining a strong testimony of the truthfulness of the Restored Gospel. I must always be ready to give an answer for not only what I believe, but why I believe it. This principle is taught to us in 1 Peter 3:15-17:
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you of the reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: Having a good conscience that whereas they speak evil of you as evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ. For it is better if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.
On 10 March 2014 I celebrated my 16th year as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Never would I ever have imagined that one day I would be a member of the Lord’s true Church.
I was raised in a good Christian Baptist home with a dear mother who made sure that her four children were nurtured in the good Word of God. I grew up in a home where it was understood that if mom was going to church on Sunday, than so were you. There was no argument, discussion, or debate. From a very early age as I grew to love and appreciate the blessed Scriptures, my focus was set on one day fulfilling my grandmother’s dream and what later became my own personal goal of becoming a Baptist minister. But the Lord had other plans.
Through all of my years of being taught righteous principles as a youth and later teaching Sunday school classes and training in Bible College to become a Baptist minister, the Lord was preparing me for a greater work that He had for me to do. I am so grateful that I yielded to His will for my life instead of pursuing the path that I had chosen. I am a living testimony that if we will but “Trust in the Lord with all [our] heart; and lean not unto [our] understanding and in all [our] ways acknowledge Him . . . He shall direct [our] paths” (see Proverbs 3:5). In the words of one of my favorite hymns:
I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me. Confused at the grace that so fully he proffers me. I tremble to know that for me he was crucified. That for me a sinner, he suffered, he bled and died. Oh it is wonderful that he should care for me. Enough to die for me. Oh it is wonderful, wonderful to me!
I am thankful for the callings that I have received over the past 17 years – Activities Chairman, Single Adults Representative, Youth Sunday School Teacher, First Counselor in the Young Men Presidency (Ward level), member of the Stake High Council, a counselor in two Bishoprics (as Second and then First) Counselor, High Priest Group Leader, Ward Mission Leader, Ward Missionary, Teacher for High Priest Group, Gospel Doctrine Teacher – and for the lessons that I have learned from each of them. Each of those lessons has helped to strengthen my testimony and have given me a stronger desire to do those things which the Lord would have me to do. Even more so, I am grateful that a loving Heavenly Father would call me to serve in these capacities and it is my humble prayer that I will always be willing to serve wherever the Master would need me to serve. May I always be willing to serve with the attitude of Nephi:” I will go and do the things which the Lord have commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them” (1 Nephi 3:7, Book of Mormon).
Being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has taught me that living the True Gospel is not in thinking about myself all the time, but rather it is about serving others. Being a member has also given me a greater understanding of the importance of, and appreciation for, family history work. The work that I have begun on my family history has sparked a great deal of interest in my family. It has also opened many doors of opportunity to share my faith and my testimony with family members, prayerfully planting seeds that will one day soon, yield a rich harvest.
As I look back through the pages of my family history, I can see the hand of God at work. I come from a heritage that is rich with people who dedicated their lives to being community leaders, educators, defenders of this great nation in several wars, and ministers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I think it is no coincidence that I would grow up to also have a thirst for education, to honorably serve my country, and most importantly to have a sincere love for the Gospel. It was all part of the Lord’s plan. I believe that every stepping stone along the way was setting the pathway to bringing me to where I am today. As I prepare family names to take to the Temple, I know that the Spirit of Elijah is present and that the Lord, as well as my ancestors, is pleased with the work that I am doing.
I will close with the words of the Prophet Joseph Smith:
The building up of Zion is a cause that has interested the people of God in every age; it is a theme upon which prophets, priests and kings have dwelt with peculiar delight; they have looked forward with joyful anticipation to the day in which we live; and fired with heavenly and joyful anticipations they have sung and written and prophesied of this our day; but they died without the sight; we are a favored people that God has made choice of to bring about the Latter-day glory, “the dispensation of the fullness of times,” when God will gather together all things that are in heaven, and all things that are upon the earth, . . . when the Saints of God will be gathered in one from every nation, and kindred, and people, and tongue, when the Jews will be gathered together into one, the wicked will also be gathered together to be destroyed, as spoken by the prophets; the Spirit of God will also dwell with His people, and be withdrawn from the rest of the nations, and all things whether in heaven or on earth will be in one, even in Christ. (HC, 4:609-610.)
I testify to you of the hope that is in me and that hope is Jesus Christ and the knowledge that I know that His Church is the True Church and that His Gospel is truth. I further testify that I know that Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God and that President Thomas S. Monson is our living prophet in these the latter days. I am convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that as the pioneer member of the Church for my family, as I continue to share my testimony of this Gospel, others will want to follow in my footsteps to learn of that blessed hope. The windows of opportunity are open and I am willing to do the work which the Father has for me to do. That I may do so humbly and by His perfect will is my prayer. In the sacred name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ. Amen.
With Every Beat of Your Heart
“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23).
The heart is the organ that supplies blood and oxygen to all parts of the body making it one of the most important organs in the entire human body. It is about the size of a clenched fist, weighs between 7 and 15 ounces (200 to 425 grams), and is shaped like a cone. It is located between the lungs in the middle of the chest, behind and slightly to the left of the breastbone (sternum). A double-layered membrane called the pericardium surrounds your heart like a sack.
The heart is really nothing more than a pump. It is composed of muscle which pumps blood throughout the body distributing essential nutrients throughout the body and carrying away waste products to keep us fresh and comfortable. Blood is pumped away from the heart through arteries and returns to the heart through veins. If the heart ever ceases to pump blood the body begins to shut down and after a very short period of time will die. Like any other muscle in the human body, the heart contracts and expands.
Unlike skeletal muscles, however, the heart works on the “All -or-Nothing Law”. That is, each time the heart contracts it does so with all its force. It beats approximately 72 times per minute. By the end of a long life, a person’s heart may have beaten (expanded and contracted) more than 3.5 billion times, without ever pausing to rest. Infect, each day, the average heart beats 100,000 times, pumping about 2,000 gallons (7,571 liters) of blood. Like a pumping machine, the heart provides the power needed for life.
The Use of the Word “Heart” in Scripture
“My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever” ( Psalm 73:26).
The word heart appears in the King James Version of the Bible some 830 times – 725 times in the Old Testament and 105 times in the New Testament. As used in Scriptures, the heart is more than just the organ that pumps blood through the body. It is a metaphor for a person’s innermost core or spiritual center. When the Scriptures speak of the heart, they are speaking of the total person or one’s whole soul. God sees, tests, and searches the hidden depths of the human heart. One who has a “pure heart “lives a life that is directed and devoted totally and unreservedly to God.
In the Old Testament, the phrase “hardness of heart” not only refers to the enemies of God’s people, like Pharaoh in Egypt, but it also refers to God’s people – Israel. In the New Testament it describes not only the scribes and Pharisees, but the disciples as well. A hard-hearted person is self-centered, typically prideful, stubborn, and resistant to what
God wants to do in his life. Thus, it is deep below the surface of our lives that God begins a work of renewing grace in us. The real action is rooted deep in the heart.
In Mark 6: 45-52 we read of an account where the phrase “hardness of heart” is used in reference to the disciples. The disciples had just witnessed the feeding of 5,000 with only five loaves and two fishes and the gathering of twelve baskets full of fragments and fishes afterwards. This is the account as recorded by Mark:
45 And straightway he constrained his disciples to get into the ship, and to go to the other side before unto Bethsaida, while he sent away the people.
46 And when he had sent them away, he departed into a mountain to pray.
47 And when even was come, the ship was in the midst of the sea, and he alone on the land.
48 And he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them: and about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them.
49 But when they saw him walking upon the sea, they supposed it had been a spirit, and cried out:
50 For they all saw him, and were troubled. And immediately he talked with them, and saith unto them, Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid.
51 And he went up unto them into the ship; and the wind ceased: and they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered.
52 For they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened.
What Type of Heart Do We Have?
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings” (Jeremiah 17:9.10).
What type of heart do we have? Do we have pure hearts that seek after doing those things which the Lord has called us to do with willingness and gladness? Do we have a desire to live our lives completely directed by and dedicated to God’s will? Or, do we have hardened hearts? Are we self-centered and unreceptive to the will of God, believing that our own way is the best way?
Charles Dickens once said, “A loving heart is the truest wisdom.” And Sarah Ban Breathnach once said, “Whatever we are willing for–peace of mind, contentment, grace, the inner awareness of simple abundance–it will surely come to us, but only when we are ready to receive it with an open and grateful heart.”
Having a pure heart brings with it the blessings of the Lord, whereas having a hardened heart pronounces a curse upon one’s own life. A hardhearted person lives a life that is full of misery, disparity, and woe. This is illustrated in the case of the captivity of Judah as recorded in Jeremiah 17:1-8:
1 The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron, and with the point of a diamond: it is graven upon the table of their heart, and upon the horns of your altars;
2 Whilst their children remember their altars and their groves by the green trees upon the high hills.
3 0 my mountain in the field, I will give thy substance and all thy treasures to the spoil, and thy high places for sin, throughout all thy borders.
4 And thou, even thyself, shalt discontinue from thine heritage that I gave thee; and I will cause thee to serve thine enemies in the land which thou knowest not: for ye have kindled a fire in mine anger, which shall burn for ever.
5 Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord.
6 For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited.
7 Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.
8 For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.
The Heart of the Matter
Everything that we do in life is a matter of the heart. Whatever we have a heart’s desire to do is normally what we will do, whether it be right or wrong. Our actions are governed by the type of heart that we have and the intents of that heart. The Lord judges us by the intents of our hearts. He reminds us in Jeremiah 17:9-10, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.” And we are reminded in Matthew 6: 19-21, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
I leave these thoughts with you humbly in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ. Amen.
Twice each year The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (inadvertently called the “Mormon” Church by the media and others) holds a General Conference meeting for members of the Church worldwide. Non-members and those wishing to learn more about The Church of Jesus Christ and the LDS faith are cordially invited to watch the sessions of the conference as well. With the Church being founded in April 1830, the conference held in April of each year is referred to as the Annual General Conference, and the conference held in October of each year is referred to as the Semiannual General Conference.
The 184th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will be held in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Saturday, 5 April 2014, and Sunday, 6 April 2014, with general sessions held each day at 10:00am and 2:00pm MDT, and the General Priesthood Session will be held on Saturday, 5 April 2014 at 6:00pm MDT.
The proceedings of the Conference are made available via the internet on LDS.org, BYUTv.org, Mormon Channel.org, and KSL.com. The proceedings are also available for watching or listening on BYUTv, KSLTv, BYU Radio network, and other sources. The sessions are broadcast worldwide and are translated into over 80 languages. The messages delivered during the Conference are given by members of the First Presidency, general officers, and other auxiliary leaders of the Church. The messages are recorded and are made available in DVD and CD formats within weeks after the conference has ended, in printed form in the May and November issues of the Ensign Magazine respectively, and on the LDS General Conference YouTube Channel within days after the Conference has ended. A chart showing when General Conference materials will be made available in video, audio, and text formats can be found here.
In the Bible, in Hebrews 11:1, we read, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” This scripture talks about having faith in God regardless of how turbulent the waters that we pass through in life may become. “For we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7).
I am a recovering drug addict and there was a time in my life when I put all my faith and trust in narcotic substances. My entire life revolved around getting the next fix which I thought was the solution to all the problems that I was facing. I was totally oblivious to everything around me as I aimlessly weathered the storms that were raging all around me.
On 24 October 2007, I ended up in jail and did not realize hoe serious my situation really was. For all practical purposes, I was DEAD spiritually, mentally, emotionally, financially, and not very far from being dead physically. It is only because of the loving grace and tender mercies of the Lord that I am alive today. At that time I weighed only 87 pounds and my eyes were sunken in. It took 3 weeks to detox, and I almost died several times during those 3 weeks.
I knew that I could no longer live my life the way that I had in the past. There had to be a drastic change or else I would die considering the state that I was in. I started to put my faith and trust in God and was blessed with finding the Restored Church and the gospel of Jesus Christ. I began investigating The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (inadvertently called the “Mormon” Church by the media and others) and was baptized a member of the Church on Saturday, 26 March 2011. Since I have repented and have turned away from my old lifestyle and habits, putting my faith in God one day at a time, I have truly found the real “substance” that I had searched for many years to find.
Unlike my former lifestyle when I put my faith in powdered substances, I now find that even when I am experiencing adversity in my life, faith in God is the only true substance that I need to sustain me today, tomorrow, and forevermore. My faith is made stronger as I learn to put my trust and confidence in Him to lead, guide, and protect me in all situations in life. A question that I ask myself on a daily basis is, “Is God my substance today?”
Karlyn Stebbins; 3 April 2014
Karlyn Kay Stebbins’ Biography:
Karlyn Kay Stebbins is a guest writer for Morsels Of Bread. She is an addictions counselor and works in a drug rehabilitation center. She has a double major in Sociology and Psychology, and a minor in Communications. She is a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, having been baptized on 26 March 2011. Her hobbies are reading and writing. She also enjoys spending time with her son and his friends. She is also the Founder of The Conqueror Foundation and has a blog called “Reflection Pays” where she shares her insights.
By now most of his fans, if not all, are aware that Elder David Archuleta has returned home to Utah after serving a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often called the “Mormon” Church by the media and others) in Chile.The exact location of where he served was never disclosed.
During his mission David taught the gospel of Jesus Christ to the people of Chile, and he was also given several opportunities to use his amazing vocal talents to share that message in song as well. One of those occasions was the 2013 Christmas concert that was held on the Santiago Chile Temple grounds in which he performed several musical numbers. You can watch the full concert in the video below. Prior to leaving on his mission, David sang with the Missionary Training Center (MTC) Choir during the second session of the 182nd Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on 31 March 2012.
David left for his mission and entered the MTC on 28 March 2012. In a Vlog which he recorded before leaving for the MTC, he remarked,
“It’s a decision everyone knows about, but it’s a very personal thing. I wanted to keep it that way, so I hope you guys respect that,” the 22-year-old said. “I’ve been able to bring you guys on this journey so far, but I hope that you guys will respect that this will be more of a personal thing; that I’m trying to focus on something else now, not my career, not trying to do music.”
“I wouldn’t be here without all of you guys, doing what you do,” Archuleta said. “It just meant a lot to have been able to bring you guys — it’s more like you have brought me on this journey — and I appreciate being able to share everything I’ve learned and experience — with you guys — because of you guys.” 
Now, two years later, and at 23, David has returned home from his mission. We are sure that he is looking to spend some quality time with his family and loved ones before announcing what his plans are for the future. He released a short video on Monday, 24 March 2014, announcing to everyone that he is back. Those were definitely words that his fans have waited to hear.
Will David be returning to the music world and making more beautiful music for everyone to enjoy? We will just have to be patient and wait to see what he has planned. If he does return to music, and this author and many others around the world hope that he will, it will be interesting to see what impact his two-year mission will have on his career. No matter what his decision will be, this author believes that he will always be a shining example to those around him.
Welcome home Elder Archuleta, and thank you for your service and devotion in the mission field as you were on the Lord’s errand.
The General Women’s Meeting of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (inadvertently called the “Mormon” Church by the media and others) was held in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City, Utah on Saturday, 29 March 2014, at 6:00 p.m. MDT. All women, young women, and girls eight years of age and older were invited to attend to listen to inspired messages from the women’s general presidencies and auxiliary leaders of the Church, as well as a message from President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ.