Peer Help Groups

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Acts 1

Today I was reading in Acts 1, along with Bruce R. McConkie's Doctrinal New Testament Commentary. He pointed out some things I would not have noticed. In Acts 1:2 we read, "Until the day in which he (the Lord) was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen." Elder McConkie points out that this is how the Church would be run after the resurrection of Christ. Christ would continue to give commandments through the Holy Ghost to his leaders on earth. When the Holy Ghost speaks, He speaks for Christ. When the apostles say that they felt words put in their hearts, it is the Holy Ghost putting those words in their hearts, but often what comes out of the mouth is "Thus saith the Lord..." We have no trouble when the Holy Ghost speaks as if He actually were Christ. We accept that because that is His role. There seems to be some confusion at times about when Christ does the same in place of His Father. There are times in the scriptures when Christ speaks as if He were the Father. And this confuses us. But if the three are so united in purpose that the Spirit can speak in place of Christ, then why would it not surprise us that Christ will also speak in place of the Father? Whether by my voice, or the voice of my servants, it is the same. Whether by my voice, or the voice of my Son, it is the same. Whether by my voice, or the voice of my Spirit, it is the same. Whether by my voice, or the voice of my Father, it is the same. Whether by my voice, or the voice of my Lord, it is the same. Whether by my voice, or the voice of my prophets, it is the same.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Helaman 11

I was reading in Helaman 11 this morning and had a few thoughts. In verse 10, I believe that we see true repentance. The Nephites and Lamanites are being completely destroyed by famine which Nephi has requested of the Lord instead of war in order to bring humility to the people. In vs. 8-9 we see that the people are pleading with the judges to plead with Nephi to plead with God to call off the famine. They are remembering the Lord. And then when Nephi prays to the Lord, he shows the Lord that the people have truely repented by saying, "O Lord, behold this people repenteth; and they have swept away the band of Gadianton from amongst them insomuch that they have become extinct, and they have concealed their secret plans in the earth.

Now, I don't know how exactly these secret plans were kept. Maybe they were plates of metal, maybe they were objects, but it seems that when people want to show that they are truly over something, they bury it in the earth. This is odd because we've seen before that the absolutely best people, the Anti-Nephi-Lehies, had also done this with their weapons of war, and even they were tempted to take up their arms again in defense of their families. Obviously burying your weapons of war or yours secrets plans is very symbolic, but they are still there. You can still have access to them if you really wanted to. Of course, burying is better than keeping it on your shelf in easy access. But why didn't anyone destroy these? As you'll see before the end of the chapter, someone has gone and dug them up and starts using them again. When we deal with temptation and sin in our lives...why do we sometimes symbolically bury the object of our temptation, but not destroy it? Do we secretly hope that one day it will be alright to dig it up? If we are truly repentant, or if we truly want to be truly repentant, why not completely destroy the object of temptation? Make it impossible for anyone to go back to it? Whatever these objects were, they could have been melted down. They could have been destroyed. Whatever our temptation is, it can be destroyed as well. It may require great sacrifice on our part, but it can be done. It may mean leaving friends and social connections, or decreased productivity, or anything, but it's worth it in the end if we are clean and able to enter the House of the Lord and eventually God's presence.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Google Friends Connects

We will be trying out different features of
Google Friend Connect at LDS Teen Help. Hopefully this will all go well.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Same-Sex Marriage - LDS Perspective


Thursday, August 14, 2008

Blog Action Day

I received an email informing me that the 2nd Annual <a href="http://blogactionday.cmail4.com/l/487919/xtdj4dir/4">Blog Action Day</a> is coming up on Oct. 15th. This year's theme is poverty. I find it surprising that Global Warming was the first thing that bloggers felt a need to take change on and poverty was second. Especially since global warming can't really be helped until poverty is taken care of (a href="http://www.businessandmedia.org/printer/2008/20080711182959.aspx">source</a>). You would think that it would be in reverse order, unless people are just blogging to blog and not really looking for real solutions. Just a thought.

On the flip side, for counter-argument, I might add that according to the <a href="http://www.gapminder.org">Gapminder</a> graph, the higher the income per person in a nation, the higher CO2 emissions per person that nation experiences.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Txt Msgs

You'll notice a new means of communication on the contact us page. I think I have been fairly liberal in handing out my phone number to anyone that needs it, but if you don't have it, and don't want to call, you can now send a text to get a conversation started. Let me know what you think. Dan

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Cognitive Dissonance in the Scriptures

Two weeks ago, I went to conference with a group of friends. It was a great experience, especially participating in the solemn assembly in person. That's something that I had never done. The conference was wonderful. But I want to talk about something I realized about myself on the way home. My friends and I were driving back to California (never driving again, Jet Blue is just too great of a deal) and it was Sunday afternoon/evening. I know that people have different opinions about traveling no Sunday, but we had decided to come home that afternoon. Normally, I don't go to places of business on Sundays. Obviously, I had to change this because we needed gas. I also felt that since I had not planned ahead and I was going to be driving straight for the nine hours, I would also need some drinks and snacks to help me stay awake. Pretty soon, our group had all decided that we would stop at McDonald's for dinner. Now that we had already bought gas and snacks, McDonald's wasn't that much further from what we would normally accept as appropriate Sunday behavior. All except for one member of our group who simply said she wasn't hungry. I knew it was because it was Sunday that she did not want any McDonald's.

Now, you see the difference between me and this girl is that when I saw an excuse not to obey rules, I took it. Obviously you can see where my heart is. When she saw a need that kept us from obeying, she tried to do what she could to still observe the sacredness of the Sabbath. Her heart was on keeping the Sabbath holy. Mine was not. But even if my heart was not set on it, this is still behavior that I would normally not participate in. So how did I justify it so quickly?

Turn with me to Alma 49:13-17. Go ahead and read those four verses. In these verses we learn that the Lamanites had come upon the city of Ammonihah to attack but found that it had been strengthened and fortified beyond their own preparations. So, they swore they would attack the city of Noah, which they knew from previous experience was a weak city. Now in vs 14, we see that they were really surprised because the city of Noah was actually stronger than they had expected, and it had Lehi, a great commander, as the chief captain over the city. The Lamanites were afraid. Under normal circumstances, they would not have attacked this city. But here they found themselves, already in enemy territory and already having passed up one city. From that point, it isn't hard to justify their attack in which they know many will die (In economics we call this a problem of sunk costs, but that's for another discussion).

So, basically they had found themselves on a slippery slope, just as I had. This is called cognitive dissonance. This happens anytime we find ourselves justifying action that normally would have found inappropriate. When I was standing in front of McDonald's (or before), I had a choice. Do I realize that my actions are not what I want them to be and try and fix it or do I justify my actions so that I feel okay doing what I'm about to do? The chief captains of the Lamanite armies had the same choice when they came upon the city of Noah. Do we realize that our actions (swearing an oath to destroy the people of Noah) are not what I want them to be and try and mend it or do I justify my actions so that I feel okay doing what I'm about to do? I realize that there is a difference in the reason for action. I had not sworn an oath to get food no matter what, but in the end, both I and the chief captains where in a situation that we would not have normally chosen and we decided to move forward anyways. I bought a cheeseburger and "they were slain with an immense slaughter." So, when you are faced with such a decision, don't worry about what you've already come through. Don't think about the past few experiences. Base your decision on what you know is right and wrong, not what you're feeling at the moment. Don't be a slaughtered chief captain.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Mending the Relationship

I recently had an experience which provides an example for how to repent and turn to the Lord. I am in the habit of giving out books as gifts. They're usually books that I really enjoy and that I think everyone should read because of the message they contain. I slightly consider who I am giving the gift to and then pick from a selection of books that I have pre-bought for that purpose. You can see that these are not gifts that I put a lot of time and thought into, but I still think they're great gifts. One friend recently thanked me for the gift and informed me that they probably wouldn't read it, but it was nice of me anyways. We're good enough friends that it was okay to say that. Here's the story that relates to repentance. A few weeks later, that friend felt like they had done something which offended me (they hadn't, but they thought they had). I received an email the next day that said this:

"Alright so I'm still feeling bad for last night and I was trying to
think of a way to make it up to you. I didn't really come up with
anything. But I thought, he seems to really want me to read
that book, so I started reading that story, I forget what it's called
but it has "to be filed" somewhere in the title. I'm not very far
yet, so far, who is it, Kipplinger? he is introducing some drunk guy
and taking him to his house, & that's as far as I've gotten."

You see, when my friend thought he had offended me and wanted to make it up, he tried to think of something he could do to show me how much he cared. He chose something that he didn't want to do, but he knew was important to me. He thought that this would mend the relationship. So, when we're trying to mend our relationship with Heavenly Father, why would we do anything different? I have to admit, when I read that email, I felt loved. I thought, "Wow, my buddy really cares." Isn't that what we want Heavenly Father to think and feel towards us? So, when I was later confronted with sin and being separated from the Spirit, needing to repent, the story of my friend came to mind. Instead of going through some repetitive motions, I asked myself what Heavenly Father has wanted me to do that I haven't done, that would show him how much I cared and how much I was willing to give up to mend our relationship. For me personally, this meant fasting for 24 hours (which I hadn't been doing) and going to sleep earlier and waking up earlier than I had been doing. This was a way of submitting myself to His will and also showing that I cared enough about the relationship to do what I could to make it up to Him.

So, next time you find yourself saying, "I'm sorry" in prayer, ask yourself, "What has Heavenly Father asked of me lately that I have not yet fulfilled?" Do that thing. See if it allows you to feel closer to Him. Maybe the change is in you and not Him (most likely), but whatever the reason, see if it brings you closer to Him.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's - Elder Holland Address

Hope you had a great Valentine's day. In the spirit of this holiday, I'd like to recommend a talk given by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland on Feb 15, 2000 called, "How do I Love Thee?." He talks about how we are to love each other, especially in romantic relationships, dating and marriage. I hope you enjoy it. You can read it or download the mp3.

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Thursday, February 07, 2008

Mitt's Concession

The video where Mitt Romney concedes shows some real logic to his choice and shows that he is thinking of what is best for everyone.



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