December 31, 2012

“All Discern”

“All Discern”
The still small voice clear
concise and pure doctrine
a two edged sword of love
the voice of the Lord speaks
all to hear and all discern
messages and revelations
we need to listen fully
within real intent found
Celestial Kingdom bound!
Copyright © 2012 – cji

“Lit a Shuck”

“Lit a Shuck”
Traversing in the darkness
unable to see or visualize
only a short distance to go
lighting a corn shuck up
finding my way brighter
as opening scriptures
finding my way today
remembering to pray!
Copyright © 2012 – cji

Visiting Teaching 1/1/13

Visiting Teaching Message

Missionary Work

Latter-day Saints are sent forth “to labor in [the Lord’s] vineyard for the salvation of the souls of men” (D&C 138:56), which includes missionary work. We don’t need a formal mission call to share the gospel. Others whose lives will be blessed by the gospel surround us, and as we prepare ourselves, the Lord will use us. Visiting teachers can embrace their spiritual responsibilities and help “bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39).
When the Prophet Joseph Smith organized the Relief Society in 1842, he said that the women were not only to look after the poor but also to save souls.1 This is still our purpose.
“The Lord … entrusts a testimony of the truth to those who will share it with others,” said President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency. “Even more, the Lord expects the members of His Church to ‘open [their mouths] at all times, declaring [His] gospel with the sound of rejoicing’ (D&C 28:16). … Sometimes a single phrase of testimony can set events in motion that affect someone’s life for eternity.”2

From the Scriptures

From Our History

The story of Olga Kovářová of the former Czechoslovakia is an example of member missionary work from our Relief Society history. In the 1970s, Olga was a doctoral student and hungry for a deeper spiritual life. She noticed 75-year-old Otakar Vojkůvka, a Latter-day Saint. “He appeared to me seventy-five in his age but in his heart nearer to eighteen and full of joy,” she said. “This was so unusual in Czechoslovakia at that time of cynicism.”
Olga asked Otakar and his family how they found joy. They introduced her to other Church members and gave her a Book of Mormon. She read it eagerly and was soon baptized and confirmed. Since that time Olga has been an influence for good in a world of political oppression and religious persecution. She served as Relief Society president in her little branch and helped save the souls of others by bringing them to Christ.3

What Can I Do?

1.    Do I follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost as I share my testimony with the sisters I visit?
2.    How am I helping the sisters I watch over to learn the gospel?
1.     See Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith (2007), 453.
2.     Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Waiting on the Road to Damascus,” Liahona and Ensign, May 2011, 76–77.
3.     See Daughters in My Kingdom: The History and Work of Relief Society (2011), 92–95.

“Gleaning the Wheat”





The trashing floor is full

workers found at hand

calling forth the winds

thrashing the wheat

the chaff to fly away

sisters being obedient

gleaning the wheat!


Copyright © 2012 – cji

Home Teaching 1/1/13

Home Teaching Message 1/1/13

The Voice of the Lord

The Doctrine and Covenants invites all people everywhere to hear the voice of the Lord Jesus Christ (see D&C 1:2, 4, 11, 34; 25:16). It is filled with His messages, warnings, and encouraging exhortations given by revelation to chosen prophets. In these revelations we can see how God can answer our prayers of faith with messages of instruction, peace, and warning.
In our prayers we seek to know what God would have us do, what we should do to find peace and happiness in this life and the next, and what lies ahead of us. The Doctrine and Covenants is filled with answers to such questions asked by ordinary people and by prophets in humble prayer. It can be a precious guide to teach us how to receive answers to questions about our temporal well-being and eternal salvation.
Humility and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ are key. Oliver Cowdery received an answer from the Lord regarding his desire to help in the translation of the Book of Mormon: “Remember that without faith you can do nothing; therefore ask in faith. Trifle not with these things; do not ask for that which you ought not” (D&C 8:10).
Over and over in the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord requires faith and humility before He gives His help. One reason for this is that His answers may not come in the way we expect. Neither will they always be easy to accept.
Church history and the experiences of our ancestors illustrate this reality. My great-grandfather Henry Eyring prayed fervently to know what he should do when he heard the restored gospel taught in 1855. The answer came in a dream.
He dreamed that he was seated at a table with Elder Erastus Snow of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and with an elder named William Brown. Elder Snow taught the principles of the gospel for what seemed to be an hour. Then Elder Snow said, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to be baptized and this man [Elder Brown] … shall baptize you.”1 My family is grateful that Henry Eyring had the faith and humility to be baptized at 7:30 in the morning in a pool of rainwater in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, by Elder Brown.
The answer to his prayer did not come in an audible voice from the Lord. It came in a vision and dream in the night, as it did with Lehi (see 1 Nephi 8:2).
The Lord has taught us that answers can also come as feelings. In the Doctrine and Covenants, He taught Oliver Cowdery, “Behold, I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart” (D&C 8:2).
And He encouraged Oliver this way: “Did I not speak peace to your mind concerning the matter? What greater witness can you have than from God?” (D&C 6:23).
The Doctrine and Covenants, Church history, and the history kept by Henry Eyring on his mission just after his baptism have taught me that answers can be felt as warnings as well as peace.
In April 1857, Elder Parley P. Pratt of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles attended a conference in what is now Oklahoma, USA. Henry Eyring recorded that Elder Pratt’s “mind was filled with gloomy forebodings … , not being able to discern the future or any way of escape.”2 Henry recorded the sad news immediately thereafter of the martyrdom of the Apostle. Elder Pratt had gone forward on his journey despite feelings of danger, just as the Prophet Joseph had done in going to Carthage.
It is my testimony that the Lord always answers the humble prayer of faith. The Doctrine and Covenants and our personal experience teach us how to recognize those answers and accept them in faith, whether they be direction, confirmation of truth, or a warning. I pray that we always will listen for and recognize the loving voice of the Lord.

Teaching from This Message

1. Consider reading together the paragraphs about prayer in this message. As you read, ask family members to listen carefully for how God answers prayers. Consider testifying of the importance of prayer.
2. The Doctrine and Covenants is filled with answers to questions asked by people in prayer. What if the answers to their questions (the revelations) were never recorded? Encourage the family to learn to recognize and follow the promptings of the Spirit. They may want to record their thoughts regarding prayer in their journals.

Listening for the Promptings

By María Isabel Molina
One night my young cousin ran away from home, so I hurried to go look for her. As I drove, I prayed for the Spirit to help me. I knew that God would answer and direct me, and I tried to listen to the Spirit’s promptings. But when I couldn’t hear anything, I began to feel desperate and felt that the Spirit was not prompting me.
Although I wanted to go farther away to search, I felt that I should stay in the area around my cousin’s home. So I decided to drive around the area once more. As I stopped at an intersection, I saw the silhouette of a young girl walking. I had found my cousin!
As I got out of the car and ran to her, I realized that the Spirit had been directing me all along by helping me feel that I should stay in the same area. Because I had been listening for a quiet voice, I nearly ignored the Spirit’s promptings. I then understood that many times we will not hear a voice, but we will feel impressions in our hearts.
I was so thankful for the Spirit’s guidance. Truly He is always there! As the scriptures say, “The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion” D&C 121:46).
If we are worthy of the Spirit’s guidance and we pay attention, we can be instruments in God’s hands to do good for many people. With the constant companionship of the Spirit, we will know the way we should go.

A Prayer Adventure

President Eyring teaches that prayers can be answered in many different ways. You can have an adventure searching the scriptures to find out some of those ways.
Use this map to begin your learning journey. Look up each scripture on the map. On the blank lines, write a few words to describe what the scripture says about answers to prayer.
Along the way, you can write in your journal about what you’re learning as well as your own experiences with prayers being answered.
“Loud and Clear”
Through rushing waters
power and awe
to whispering winds
a zephyr soft
lightly touching
feelings awakened
the voice of the Lord
loud and clear!
Copyright © 2012 – cji


“Of Greater Concern” (essay)

“Of A Greater Concern”  cji 12/31/12
What is the purpose of seeking to know which Church to join? What should be the criteria? Can we ever really know if there is a Church led by the Father and the Son – as in the days of Adam, Noah, Enoch, Moses, Jacob, Abraham, and most importantly in the meridian of time as organized by the Savior Jesus Christ?  Is there actually supposed to be a Church with divine authority – communications and revelations ongoing – Prophets, Apostles, Seventies and all other parts of what is known as the Church of Jesus Christ as described by Paul? For those who feel these questions have relevance to their lives – their family’s lives – and their eternal salvation then one must find the truth for themselves.
I can promulgate that these are important questions and all revolve and have genesis from a full and complete reading of the Old and New Testaments. For without the full and truthful answers can we know what we are to be doing in this life.  Too many are found in the struggle of day to day living – over 90% of the world’s population will be born – live and die without every knowing about Jesus Christ – the Bible or other Scriptures.  Yet when one reads the Bible and other Scriptures none of these will be denied the blessings of the Atonement and the Resurrection. Yet within the 10% who do hear about the Savior and His acts on our behalf many are taught that the 90% are damned. Which is correct? One being saved from the Spiritual death of this world (whether hearing or not hearing); or only being saved if you’ve accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior?  The Scriptures were quite clear in defining mortality as the test for all. 
Satan in his presentation to be the one who ‘ran’ this world testified that none would be lost! While the Savior offered to be the Atonement for the sins of the world for all who dealt in mortality.  Both were inclusive of all!  In contracts – All means everything – and in Egyptian ‘all’ means all you can see or know about – and everything you cannot see or know about. Thus if all are to be given the blessings of the Atonement and Resurrection – then it is very important that we understand the Bible (even in its revised and changed state from the original teachings of the Prophets) and other Scriptures.  Sadly, too many read not who’ve the ability to read and understand only what ‘books’ tell them to understand under the interpretations of men and women who’ve gone to schools to learn what is Politically Correct to teach to be in line with the Creeds (a mixture of rhetorical Greek philosophy and some Scripture).  
All of the above is the repetitive ‘words’ which for centuries found life and death in the balance of the ones discussing.  Many who questioned the teachings of the various churches since the 2nd Century to present day were put to death. Even today in many nations due to different beliefs many are put to death. 9/11 was no accident – it was the putting to death of those who didn’t believe as the Jihadists believed.  Murder in the name of religion has long been the best means of conversion to another’s belief system. In the 3rd and 4th Centuries – the great St. Augustine approved of this means of conversion.
When the remains of Holy Scripture was being brought to the light of those other than the monks and other so called holy men – thousands and thousands were murdered – including women and little children (history is replete with this documentation).  Those who did the early translations were put to death – the list is long but most notably headed by William Tyndale – whose writings make up over 80% of the KJV of the Bible. William Tyndale was first strangled and then burnt at the stake!
America is not free from such religious persecution. In the earliest days of the settling of the eastern coast of the what is today the United States – there were witch hunts, burning at the stake, and other punishments for those who did toe the politically correct teachings. Interestingly this was the same reason many had left Europe due to religious persecution. Well into the 1800’s and 1900’s this has continued to be part and parcel of religion in the US. Even today in the 21st Century the attacks on religion and beliefs of virtue, honestly, integrity, morals, values, prayer, and the Bible are under constant attack. And as before much of the contention begins with the various clergy – and then government intervenes.
So why is it important for each of us individually to seek the truth? We know that most of the earth’s population will never have this opportunity – so why having this opportunity need to know? There is a scripture, “Where much is given, much is expected,” which applies to those who can read, write, learn, study, have available the resources and other means of discerning between truth and fiction. If we do not avail ourselves of all of these materials and opportunities instead going the way of the politically correct world we will be accounted for doing nothing on our own salvation. If just being saved is enough there is no work on our part to earn eternal life and therefore it is acceptable for us to be found in other than the Celestial Kingdom (as referred to by Paul).
However, if it is important to us then we find that which is of a greater concern.  Achieving Eternal Life with the Father and Son – living in their presence – having our families to be forever and ever with us and receiving every blessing covenanted to by our Father in Heaven. 
What is of a greater concern?  Let me first describe an account of what is not taught and usually taught wrong if taught.  There is a Church on this earth that few have enjoined with.  There have been rumors and innuendos and all kinds of persecution.  They were driven from their residences on numerous occasions; murdered, raped, little children killed (including infants) and the government where they lived did nothing to intervene! Indeed some of the various local governments encouraged this treatment. Some issued extermination orders – others sent militias to disarm and therefore make it more convenient to commit crimes against them. Eventually they were driven far from the nation in which they began – losing their citizenship – homes – and all they had. Even the local and national clergy railed against and today in some places it is still true.
As we continue to look at this Church we find a group of members who were denied the Priesthood and could not partake of the Temple and other ordinances after their baptisms. Yet they joined – some walking hundreds of miles to join the Church – and most even today are the most devout members. The media slammed this Church as being racist, discriminating and otherwise using the claim, “this Church is of the Devil and not God!” Yet those denied this rights of membership continued to join – even in faraway nations those denied these ordinances joined.
Why? It would seem ridiculous to enjoin to a Church where you could have no role as seen by the world and worldly. This is what is of greater concern! To enjoin yourself into the Church established and restored to the earth knowing of its truthfulness – and being baptized and confirmed a member – then given the gift of the Holy Ghost is all that is needful or was needful for these members if they stayed worthy to their baptismal covenant for eternal life and salvation! 
How many realize that the purpose of mortality is to return to the presence of our Heavenly Father?  Yes there are two other tangible reasons; to gain a physical body of flesh and bone and to endure our mortal probation in worthiness.  But the single most important aspect of mortality is to return to our Father in Heaven – to be in His presence as is His Son with a body of flesh and bone and to have our loved ones with us there.  This group of people understood the importance of enjoining – and remaining true to their covenants made at baptism is all that was needful for them. 
The screams and ranting’s of the worldly matter not in the terms of why we are here, where we came from and where we might be going. What matters is being worthy!  Whether you were born in the 4th to the 19th Century when the Fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ was not found on this earth or in any of the windows of earthly history when this was the circumstances – being worthy is the key – of the greater concern to everyone who seeks to return to Heavenly Father – even if they are not taught about Him or His Son in their mortality.
In the Scriptures we read and can discern that the Father and the Son are unchanging the same yesterday, today and forever. They are fair! There is no deceit or beguiling in anything they say or do.  The Father wrote the Plan of Salvations for this Earth – we in a meeting in the pre-existence voted on and approved this Plan.  Satan and one-third of the host of Heaven rebelled and were thrown out of the pre-existent world – never to receive a body of flesh and bone and therefore never to return to the presence of Heavenly Father. 
Can we comprehend what we read? Can we put aside prejudices and false teaching to discern what is of greater concern?  Or will we remain fixated on the teachings of men and women – accepting nothing more than being spirit angels playing harps? Or can we read for ourselves the promises and teachings of the Holy Bible and other Scriptures? 
What is of greater concern to us? Making a house payment – driving a new car – enjoined in worldly lusts and pleasures – and generally being as much animal as human?  These are choices which only a human can make – with their ability to reason and discern truth from fiction.  One can abdicate this to another – but they will still be accountable and responsible for their own salvation.
With the understanding there are many very good and worthy persons – doing the right things for the right reasons. Just not willing to be obedient to all of the Commandments, Laws and Statutes as found in the Bible and other Scriptures. What’s wrong with going to football game on Sunday? Or stealing a pen or pencil from the work place? Or passing on a rumor? Or murmuring against a sustained leader? Or any of the myriad ways one can commit sin?  Still and all good people don’t kill/murder – or commit adultery – or spread false rumors – lie/cheat/steal – do they?
If it is worthiness that is of the greater concern – then one to be worthy doesn’t even have to know about the Father and the Son!  Throughout history we can find millions if not billions who are worthy persons – they love their families – give service to others – live clean and moral lives and choose to do good and avoid evil.  There is no culture in the history of mankind where this truth cannot be found.  All men and women who’ve attained the age of eight (8) years old can discern between right and wrong; good and evil; virtue and vice and know they’re the one making their own choices.
(Note: one must always remember little children cannot do commit evil – and any other of the worldly vices be accountable for – this was and is the fault of those who raised them.  Little children – 0-7.1199999999 return to Heavenly Father’s presence immediately upon their death.  The same is true about those who are mentally unable to understand – even after the age of eight (8) years old.  We’ve a fair and just God – not one who discriminates against any of His children.)
Thus, for those able to read this and myself – we’ve had much given and much is expected.  We’ve harder and more difficult choices to make within our agency in our mortal probation.  We thus can choose to ignore that which of greater concern – our worthiness to return to Heavenly Father and continue in the worldly thinking of two choices: first, that there is nothing after this life so nothing matters (atheism or evolutionism); or that there is something after this life but it is a mystery or only to be found as administering angels and we’ll only have spiritual bodies!  These are the two choices of the worldly – they have to be for anything else it requires one having authority from the Father or the Son (almost always in this earth from the Son) for their baptism and other ordinances of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 
If one decides that men and women – the creeds of men and women – the philosophies of men and women are more valid than the literal teachings of the Scriptures (in their fullness) – then they’ve made the choice of not caring to earn the right to return into the presence of their Heavenly Father. This is a willing choice – which each mortal being has the right to make – for remember there is no coercion in the Plan of Salvation.  Then each individual can set aside the Scriptures – discontinue their search and accept as found in Peggy Lee’s song, “Is That All There Is.”  Too many have chosen this path in our present day – being politically correct in both their lives and their beliefs.
Or in coming full circle are these following questions important to each of us? What is the purpose of seeking to know which Church to join? What should be the criteria? Can we ever really know if there is a Church led by the Father and the Son – as in the days of Adam, Noah, Enoch, Moses, Jacob, Abraham, and most importantly in the meridian of time as organized by the Savior Jesus Christ?  Is there actually supposed to be a Church with divine authority – communications and revelations ongoing – Prophets, Apostles, Seventies and all other parts of what is known as the Church of Jesus Christ as described by Paul? For those who feel these questions have relevance to their lives – their family’s lives – and their eternal salvation then one must find the truth for themselves.
If the above paragraph is important to us – as it was who were denied some of the ordinances in their membership to such a Church – then we need to read and study the scriptures where one will find the promises of eternal life.  There is such a Church – as the final dispensation as declared by the Savior in His teachings to the Apostles and Disciples in His mortality and resurrected being taught and all of the Prophets have taught throughout written and oral history.  Indeed these same teachings have been round the world to all nations, kindred’s and tongues.  It is there for those who seek to find it. Remember the rich man who sought to follow the Savior?
Luke 18:18 And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit aeternal life?
19 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is agood, save one, that is, God.
20 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit aadultery, Do not bkill, Do not steal, Do not bear cfalse witness, dHonour thy father and thy mother.
21 And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up.
22 Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the apoor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.
23 And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich.
24 And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!
Are we found such as this rich man was found?  If so what will be our choice – I’ve seen many come and go – joining for the truth – and then influenced by the worldly leaving to be found politically correct and welcomed.  And finally what is known about the worldly and seeking the full truth is found in Doctrine and Covenants 121:34-40:
Doctrine and Covenants 121:34 Behold, there are many acalled, but few are chosen. And why are they not chosen?
35 Because their ahearts are set so much upon the things of this bworld, and caspire to the dhonors of men, that they do not learn this one lesson—
36 That the arights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be bcontrolled nor handled only upon the cprinciples of righteousness.
37 That they may be conferred upon us, it is true; but when we undertake to acover our bsins, or to gratify our cpride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or ddominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens ewithdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man.
38 Behold, ere he is aware, he is left unto himself, to akick against the pricks, to bpersecute the saints, and to cfight against God.
39 We have learned by sad experience that it is the anature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little bauthority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise cunrighteous dominion.
40 Hence many are called, but afew are chosen.
What is of greatest concern is what we believe to be our priorities in this mortality?  Nothing will coerce one into to seeking knowledge, light or truth.  Nothing will coerce you into having sincere prayer, seeking the guidance of the spirit or to feel the good.  In fact the worldly will teach one not to seek or do any of the above!  For the adversary has every tool at his disposal – lacking none with the exception that he cannot tempt a mortal being beyond his ability to resist temptation – otherwise saying he cannot force anyone to choose to be evil, wrong or deny the Holy Ghost.
Everything is available to those who seek it with a pure heart, real intent and a contrite spirit.  Common sense and reason – will make clear all that one needs to know of the things of the greater concern. For as found in James 1:5-6 – such knowledge, light and truth is available to all:
Jame 1:5 aIf any of you lack bwisdom, let him ask of God, that cgiveth to all men liberally, and dupbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
6 But let him aask in bfaith, nothing cwavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
Each have choices to make – we can like those who could only enjoin in baptism, confirmation and receiving of the Holy Ghost – then to live worthy to receive (having earned the right) all of the blessings covenanted to with the Father and the Son.  Or for those who will never see this or hear of Heavenly Father or the Savior Jesus Christ (in the fullness) be found worthy to learn and accept these teaching after their mortal probation during the millennial time.  Remember after the crucifixion Jesus went and taught in the Spirit World – if then why not always? None who’ve lived in mortality on this earth will be denied hearing the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ taught to them – all will hear it – if not in this life in the life hereafter.
Those who’ve the availability to have heard it in this life and have not embraced it fully – i.e. full obedience to all of the Commandments, Laws and Statutes (remember there are many more than just the ten); then they will have their reward – one of the two worldly options mentioned above. Sadly most of those who’ve been alive when the fullness of the Gospel has been upon this earth (we’re in the 7th and last dispensation now) have rejected the fullness of the Gospel. Having chosen the worldly religions over what the Savior taught. Thus they’ve rejected in whole or part the literal truths of the Scriptures.
One day we will all appear at the bar of justice and mercy –to account for our choices in this mortal probation.  There will be no exceptions! Satan will be there to claim those who’ve chosen to commit the shedding of innocent blood or denied the Holy Ghost.  And all of the Prophets of the various dispensations will be there to remove any excuses of not having the opportunity of being taught or seeking out the truths taught for those of their dispensation. The Savior will be there and at some so will each of us!
I leave these things with you and bare my testimony – that the Church of Jesus Christ has been restored again to this earth in these latter-days and there is a Prophet of God and Apostles again on this earth – that if we seek we shall find and if we find – we will know that Jesus is the Christ – in the name of Jesus Christ amen – c/ork
“Of Greater Concern”
Leaving all behind to enjoin
only baptismal covenants
being confirmed a member
receiving the Holy Ghost
with no other ordinances
being worthy in all things
knowing of the truthfulness
understanding the eternal
ignoring the worldly jeers
finding an internal peace
tears gratefully to release
hearing the angel cheers
accepting Gospel fullness
salvations joy this brings
extending family branches
the Savior our lives to host
knowing in our December
with Father/Son we’ll join!
Copyright © 2012 – cji