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Major adventures as an RM

8 Dec

Okay so before I resume with the site adventures again I want to tell you what I have been up to for the past few weeks. I promised to do a post specifically on one of the first major adventures that I had. This was when my family traveled to Mexico for a humanitarian project. This has been an annual tradition for over five years now. I have talked about this a little bit before   in an earlier blog post.

This year we went to Mexico and my family and a dozen or so other families helped to change the lives of families in Tijuana Mexico. This year our projects consisted of building homes, reconstructing homes, repairing homes, and also helping with a variety of humanitarian needs for the people there. I was able to assist more in humanitarian efforts this year than in past years.  One day another girl and I sewed together 45 baby receiving blankets and prepared many quilts for the people there. I have always enjoyed how much they appreciate what we do but something that is always bound to happen when you are involved in such a great event is that you are blessed and feel the love of God very powerfully in your life. This is a principle that is taught many times in the Book of Mormon. One of my favorite scriptures is Mosiah 2:17, another favorite scripture is found in the New Testament in Matthew 25:40. I know that when we are serving others we truly are in the service of God.

Often when we are preparing to go to Mexico people ask us why we are willing to leave families, skip Thanksgiving, and risk so much just to do something so small like build a home or sew a quilt.As I have done this more and more I have come to appreciate one of the greatest gifts of God. That gift is Charity and it is ability to love others as Jesus Christ does. That not only means loving but doing, saying, acting, caring, and serving as Jesus Christ would. If you would like to know more about what Charity is check out this section from the Book of Mormon, Moroni 7:40-48. I was thinking about what Charity is and I why I do the things that I do and I found a really great video. This is a group of young women from a town in the state where I am from and it is how they are showing charity in their own special way.  I hope that you will always strive to have a spirit of Charity in everything that you do.

 

Smith Farm Part 4

21 Sep

Okay it is time to continue forward talking about what happened once the Book of Mormon Plates were safely in the house. Now before I tell you anymore I want you to imagine what it must have been like to have such a large responsibility. Do you find yourself anywhere in that thought? I know that I sometimes find myself feeling that way but I want to remind you of the scripture that I quoted in the last post, “But, behold, it mattereth not—we trust God will deliver us, notwithstanding the weakness of our armies, yea, and deliver us out of the hands of our enemies.” (Alma 58:37) So just as we all sometimes face Joseph Smith needed to trust in God and do what he could so that the Plates would be protected and delivered from the hands of their enemies.

So Joseph Smith went forward trusting the promise of the Lord and as he did so the Lord’s promises were fulfilled. Joseph Smith came to the decision to hide the plates in the hearth of the fireplace in the parlor. The bricks were picked up, the dirt under was pushed away to leave a hole, the plates were put in the and the hearth was expertly relaid. Just after this was finished a large mob comes to the home and all the men in this family rushed the door and were able to scare away the mob. Just like it says in Alma 58:37 we will be delivered from our enemies as we put our trust in God. We also see that the Lord does keep his promises.

As we walk through the doorway into the back half of the home we see 2 small rooms to one side and a large kitchen taking up the greater part of the rest of the space. One of these 2 small rooms was the bedroom for Joseph Smith’s sisters. These brave young women continued to also exercise the same level of trust in God as their brother Joseph did. One night a family member saw a mob heading toward the home and Joseph quickly acted and took the plates wrapped them in a cloth and handed them to his sisters. The sisters pulled the plates into their bed and pulled the blankets over their heads and pretended to be asleep. The mob entered the home and searched all around but they did not find the plates safely hidden between the two young women. I love this story as I think that not Joseph had to put his faith in that promise but also his entire family needed to trust in God. I love though that we can also learn another lesson from these experiences. That lesson is explained with a scripture from the Book of Mormon, “For he will fulfil all his promises which he shall make unto you, for he has fulfilled his promises which he has made unto our fathers.” (Alma 37:17) I know that the Lord will fulfill all of the promises made to all of us so long as we live worthy of that promise and blessing.

Notes:

All of the above information unless noted otherwise came from Guide to Exhibits at the Joseph Smith Historic Farm Site,  Published by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2004

Joseph Smith Farm Part 3

7 Sep

Since we are working our way through the Historical Sites in chronological order I decided it would be best to now come back to the Smith Family Frame home. This home is about 85 percent original.  This home was originally under construction by the Prophet Joseph Smith’s oldest brother. This home however was not finished by Alvin Smith as he had become ill and it eventually led to his death. Something that I think is amazing however is that while he was dying Alvin remained so supportive of his younger brother. In fact he was so supportive that some of the last words he speaks to Joseph Smith are, “to do everything in his power to obtain the Record” referring to the Book of Mormon Plates. Alvin passed away on November 19, 1823.

About 2 years later this home was completed and the Smith family moved in. Joseph Smith brought his wife, Emma, to live here in January of 1827. In September of  1827 Joseph and Emma drove a carriage to the Hill Cumorah, where Joseph received the Book of Mormon Plates from Angel Moroni.

So as the time came to retrieve the plates from the Hill Cumorah Joseph made preparations to go in the middle of the night to avoid as much opposition as possible. Joseph’s wife Emma accompanied him on this trip. They made it to the Hill Cumorah and Emma remained behind in the wagon as Joseph went up the Hill to meet with Moroni. On this occasion Joseph was entrusted with the plates with a charge to keep them safe and as he did so the plates would be protected.  The first hiding place was in a fallen hollow log. However the plates did not stay there for too long as members of the Smith Family soon learned of a plot from some of the community to use a conjurer to search for the plates on the Hill Cumorah. Being warned of this plot Joseph made plans to move the plates to a safer location. He later went to the Hill retrieved the plates and was pursued the entire way home. Eventually he outran his assailants and the plates were safely inside the home.

Amid all of the chaos surrounding the plates Joseph remembered the promise that was given to him that if he would do everything in his power to protect the plates they would be protected and he was seeing that promise fulfilled. As I think of all of these experiences I am constantly reminded of a scripture from the Book of Mormon that says, “But, behold, it mattereth not—we trust God will deliver us, notwithstanding the weakness of our armies, yea, and deliver us out of the hands of our enemies.” (Alma 58:37) Although Joseph’s family and friends weren’t you typically think of as an army they were united and they came out victorious as they trusted God. I know that as we all trust in God we too can be delivered out of the hands of our enemies or whatever it is that comes our way.

Notes:

All of the above information unless noted otherwise came from Guide to Exhibits at the Joseph Smith Historic Farm Site  Published by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 2004

Hill Cumorah

5 Sep

If you remember my last post you will recall how I showed you one of my favorite places. That is the upstairs of the Smith Log Home. We are now at the Hill Cumorah in the Fall of 1823. Come with Joseph and me as we walk to the Hill Cumorah from the Joseph Smith Farm. This is how Joseph descibes the Hill Cumorah, ““Convenient to the village of Manchester, Ontario county, New York, stands a hill of considerable size, and the most elevated of any in the neighborhood. ” (Introduction to the Book of Mormon)  If you look at the picture above you can tell what he was talking about.  Although it looks just like any other hill in the area it is very special and different.

Here is why this hill is so different than any in the area. Joseph Smith says, ” On the west side of this hill, not far from the top, under a stone of considerable size, lay the plates, deposited in a stone box. This stone was thick and rounding in the middle on the upper side, and thinner towards the edges, so that the middle part of it was visible above the ground, but the edge all around was covered with earth.Having removed the earth, I obtained a lever, which I got fixed under the edge of the stone, and with a little exertion raised it up. I looked in, and there indeed did I behold the plates…The box in which they lay was formed by laying stones together in some kind of cement. In the bottom of the box … lay the plates.” (Introduction to the Book of Mormon)  So that is what happened near the top of the Hill Cumorah on September 22, 1823.

Joseph Smith continues, “I made an attempt to take them out, but was forbidden by the messenger, and was again informed that the time for bringing them forth had not yet arrived, neither would it, until four years from that time; but he told me that I should come to that place precisely in one year from that time, and that he would there meet with me, and that I should continue to do so until the time should come for obtaining the plates.Accordingly, as I had been commanded, I went at the end of each year, and at each time I found the same messenger there, and received instruction and intelligence from him at each of our interviews, respecting what the Lord was going to do, and how and in what manner His kingdom was to be conducted in the last days.” After all of this training the time finally came to retrieve the plates. Joseph Smith describes this event, “At length the time arrived for obtaining the plates…On the twenty-second day of September, one thousand eight hundred and twenty-seven, having gone as usual at the end of another year to the place where they were deposited,  the same heavenly messenger delivered them up to me with this charge: That I should be responsible for them… by the wisdom of God, they remained safe in my hands, until I had accomplished by them what was required at my hand. When, according to arrangements, the messenger called for them, I delivered them up to him; and he has them in his charge until this day.” (Introduction to the Book of Mormon)

This ancient record would be translated by the Prophet Joseph Smith and published in the English Language in 1830 and has since been published in over 100 languages. I promise that if you read the Book of Mormon that you will have greater peace, joy, and happiness than you ever experienced before. The Book of Mormon is true and I know it because I have read it.

Joseph Smith Farm Part 2

22 Aug

Okay so in the Southwest corner of the Smith Farm there is a staircase that leads upstairs. In the upstairs of this home is one of the very few places in Church History that we have an exact location for. I love being in the upstairs of this home. One of my favorite memories of this home took place on September 22, 2010. This is a significant day and I am going to tell you why. This particular day was the first full day that my companion and I had in our middle of nowhere area. We were still completely lost and didn’t have a clue where we were. The amazing thing about this day was that when we finally made into the Joseph Smith Farm that afternoon we knew and felt that we were no longer lost physically and spiritually because of what had happened here.

So come on upstairs and let me tell you about it.  This is very similar to how the bedroom of  Joseph Smith would have looked back in 1827 when something very significant happened here. On the night of September 21, 1823 Joseph Smith, was praying. And while he was praying he had a remarkable experience. That evening he was visited by an angel of the Lord named Moroni. Moroni told him about “a book deposited, written upon gold plates, giving an account of the former inhabitants of this continent, and the source from whence they sprang. He also said that the fulness of the everlasting Gospel was contained in it, as delivered by the Savior to the ancient inhabitants.” (Introduction to the Book of Mormon) This same messenger appeared to Joseph Smith 2 more times that evening and repeated the same messages adding cautions.  Then after the third visit “[Moroni] again ascended into heaven as before, and I was again left to ponder on the strangeness of what I had just experienced; when almost immediately after the heavenly messenger had ascended from me the third time, the cock crowed, and I found that day was approaching, so that our interviews must have occupied the whole of that night.”(Introduction to the Book of Mormon) After that sleepless night Joseph Smith was visited again the next morning and was told the same thing this time being counseled to tell his father who then sent him to the Hill Cumorah, the place where the ancient record was buried. In the upcoming posts I am going to tell you about what will happen with this record and what Joseph Smith’s work would be with it.

For the next four years Joseph Smith went to that same hill every year to be taught and trained about what he is to do with this record. After those 4 years Joseph Smith begins the translation process and the end result is the Book of Mormon. I know the Book of Mormon is true and I know that by reading it you will have greater peace and happiness in your life because I have experienced it in my life.

Joseph Smith Farm Part 1

27 Jul

I often have the opportunity to serve at the Historical Sites of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in the New York area. I want to share with all of you the awesomeness that is these sites and I hope that you enjoy my virtual tours of all of them, we are going to go in small pieces  to different places, in chronological order. The first is the Joseph Smith Family Farm in Palmyra New York.

This is the Smith Family Log Home, it is a replica but the things that happened here are true. This is where the Smith Family moved to in 1818 with 8 children, the ninth child was born in the back bedroom as you see in the picture here. When the Smith Family moved here in 1818 it was during a time of great religious excitement. In fact it was so exciting that it left many people wondering what to do. One of those who was greatly affected by this was a young man by the name of Joseph Smith. Joseph Smith describes this time, “During this time of great excitement my mind was called up to serious reflection and great uneasiness… but so great were the confusion and strife among the different denominations, that it was impossible for a person young as I was, and so unacquainted with men and things, to come to any certain conclusion who was right and who was wrong.”(Joseph Smith History 1:8) He continues, “In the midst of this war of words and tumult of opinions, I often said to myself: What is to be done? Who of all these parties are right; or, are they all wrong together? If any one of them be right which is it, and how shall I know it?” (Joseph Smith History 1:10) Have you ever asked yourself questions similar to that asked by Joseph Smith? Have you ever wondered about which church is right?

Well, if you have ever asked yourself the same question let me tell how Joseph Smith found the answer to his question. Joseph says, “While I was laboring under the extreme difficulties caused by the contests of these parties of religionists, I was one day reading the Epistle of James Chapter One Fifth Verse, which reads: If any of you lack wisdom let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.Never did any passage of scripture come with more power to the heart of man than this did at this time to mine.I reflected on it again and again, knowing that if any person needed wisdom from God, I did; for how to act I did not know, and unless I could get more wisdom than I then had, I would never know…At length I came to the conclusion that I must either remain in darkness and confusion, or else I must do as James directs, that is, ask of God. I at length came to the determination to “ask of God…” (Joseph Smith History 1:11-13) And that is exactly what he did. And you can also do the same, “ask of God.”

Joseph went into a small forest behind his home and he prayed. I am always so impressed by how Joseph Smith describes his experience praying. “After I had retired to the place where I had previously designed to go, having looked around me, and finding myself alone, I kneeled down and began to offer up the desires of my heart to God.I saw a pillar of  light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me…When the light rested upon me I saw two personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!” (Joseph Smith History 1:15-17) I know that this account is true. I know that Joseph Smith saw two personages in that forest behind his home. I know that those men were God, our Heavenly Father, and His Son, our Savior Jesus Christ. I know that God knows and loves you just as he does Joseph Smith and that He will answer your prayer in a way that is perfectly tailored to fit your needs.

Please stay posted for more about the Joseph Smith Family Farm and also the other Historic Sites of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the New York Area.

Come to the Pageant

7 Jul

Sometimes with my blog it seems that I fall off of the planet for prolonged periods of time. Well, today I am going to explain a little bit about where I have been. Part of my mission is to serve at the Hill Cumorah Historic Sites in Palmyra and Fayette New York.

This week there is a lot going with theses sites over the next few weeks. Actually what is going is amazing. It is one of the largest outdoor theatrical productions in America. It is called the Hill Cumorah Pageant. I am so excited for what is happening.  I had the opportunity to go last year and I will be able to attend as a missionary again this year that is one of the reasons that I am so excited about the whole thing. I really hope to see you all there.

Information can be found on the link for the Pageant above.

Stinky Situations

1 Jul

There is an animal that is more feared than most other animals. Especially in the rural parts of Western New York where I have been so blessed to serve. This animal has a nasty odor and any who can smell him run as fast and as far as they can. This poor animal is the skunk. How embarassing it is to be a skunk. Everybody is afraid of him especially his smell. The adventure that I am going to share with you is about how sometimes even we are careful we may still get that smell on us.

It all began one October night. My companion and I were about 10 miles from home and we had an encounter with our furry little stinky friend. We were driving home and it was a lot of up and down hills in the dark.  We were coming up to the top of the hill and we see him. He looks at us with a look that said to us, “You’re not really going to hit me are you?” and then my companion hit him. As she hit him he did that horrible thing that we all hope never happens to us. He sprayed. What makes it worse is that we left the heater on so it caused it to just get into the heating system and on us and in our car. So we keep driving home and the smell gets worse. We open our windows…bad idea. Eventually we make it home and we ask our downstairs neighbors if we smell. They say yes and then they offer to help us smell less bad by searching for how to rid ourselves of that smell. We eventually do get the smell off of us. It eventually wore out of the car too. And we learned a few valuable lessons. The first, always turn off the heat when you hit a skunk. The second, if you aren’t careful you will end up in a stinky situation that can sometime be difficult to get yourself out of.

So in our lives how many times do we find ourselves in stinky situations? What causes them? Sometimes it is bad decisions on our part. Sometimes it is bad decisions on the parts of others and we have to deal with the consequences. Sometimes it is nobody’s fault but it is just a part of life. So what do we do when we ourselves in these stinky situations? When my companion and I were in our situation we needed some home remedy laundry detergent, baking soda for our car mats, a little bit of time, and a good sense of humor as we tried to wash the smell off the car. When we are in our own stinky situations we need very similar treatments. When we make bad decisions we need the detergent that can be found through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. When it is the decision of others we need to often apply the gift of forgiveness so that the smell can leave even the car mats of our hearts. And when it is the things that we cannot avoid we often just need time and whenever possible try to laugh off whatever it that come your way. I know that there is never anything too hard or smelly that you will not be able to overcome. The skunky smell did leave us and the hard things will leave you too.

June 27, 1844

27 Jun

Do you know what happened this day? Check out the links below to find out.

Testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith from an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ:

I know that Joseph Smith is the Prophet called of God to restore the true Church of Jesus Christ back to the Earth!

Please Check out this site for more information:The Martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph Smith,Who is Joseph Smith

Follow the Prophet

17 Jun

There is a song that I learned when I was a young child and it is still one of my favorites today as a 22 year old Mormon Missionary. It is a song that is sung in many homes. I was recently in a home of a single mother with a 3 year old daughter and her daughter could sing this song loud and proud. This song can involve dressing up and acting out scenes from some of our favorite bible stories such as Noah’s ark, Daniel in the Lion’s Den, and Jonah and the Whale.  In this song it talks about Prophets from the Bible and it teaches us a valuable lesson, to follow the prophet because he knows the way and will not lead us astray.

The Words to that song are:

Adam was a prophet, first one that we know.
In a place called Eden, he helped things to grow.
Adam served the Lord by following his ways.
We are his descendants in the latter days.

Enoch was a prophet; he taught what was good.
People in his city did just what they should.
When they were so righteous that there was no sin,
Heav’nly Father took them up to live with him.

 

Noah was a prophet called to preach the word,
Tried to cry repentance, but nobody heard.
They were busy sinning—Noah preached in vain.
They wished they had listened when they saw the rain.

Abraham the prophet prayed to have a son,
So the Lord sent Isaac as the chosen one.
Isaac begat Jacob, known as Israel;
Jacob’s sons were twelve tribes, so the Bible tells.

Moses was a prophet sent to Israel.
He would lead them to the promised land to dwell.
They were slow to  follow, or so it appears.
They were in the wilderness for forty years.

Samuel was a prophet chosen as a boy.
Hannah promised God her son would serve with joy.
In the tabernacle, Samuel heard his name;
He was called by God and answered, “Here I am!”

Jonah was a prophet, tried to run away,
But he later learned to listen and obey.
When we really try, the Lord won’t let us fail:
That’s what Jonah learned deep down inside the whale.

 

Daniel was a prophet. He refused to sin;
So the king threw Daniel in the lion’s den.
Angels calmed the lions, and the king soon saw
Daniel’s pow’r was   great,    for he obeyed God’s law.

Now we have a world where people are confused.
If you don’t believe it, go and watch the news.
We can get direction all along our way,
If we heed the prophets—follow what they say.

Chorus
Follow the prophet, follow the prophet,

Follow the prophet; don’t go astray.
Follow the prophet, follow the prophet,
Follow the prophet; he knows the way.


What a great lesson this teaches us. That God calls Prophets and those Prophets in turn speak to people on Earth and we have to opportunity to listen or to not. This is a pattern that has always been on the earth. I know that if we read the words of the ancient prophets found in the Bible we will not be led astray.