The Iron Rod

Fear came to my heart

because I could not see.

I could not tell

where I should be. Continue reading

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General Conference thoughts: God’s Compelling Witness: The Book of Mormon

by Tad R. Callister

One time while on my mission, my companion and I spent some down time tracting.  That’s probably the image most people think of when they think of “Mormons” – the door to door visits by missionaries.  It’s not the most effective use of time but at least it’s not idling precious time away. Very little good tends to come from it except for the chance to meet a variety of people. Continue reading

General Conference thoughts: The Book of Mormon: What Would Your Life Be Like without It? and Seek Ye Out of the Best Books

by President Russell M. Nelson and ElderIan S. Ardern

The most striking thing about President Nelson’s talk the day he delivered it was his quiet way of showing how to sustain a prophet of God.  His whole talk focused on how he took President Monson’s last conference talk and applied it.  What a great example! Continue reading

Look to the Book, Look to the Lord

by Elder Gary E Stevenson

Below is the link to the General Conference talk by Elder Stevenson. Between the link and here I share a few of my personal thoughts on the subject.

I love reading the Book of Mormon!  I love that it helps me focus more on Christ and becoming a better disciple of Christ because I need all the help I can get.  I have read the book almost daily since I was in high school and I still learn from it.  Continue reading

A hero named Pahoran

Let me tell you about one of my heroes in the Book of Mormon. His name is Pahoran.  We know relatively little about him. He was the third Chief Judge for the Nephites after he took his dad’s place. His father Nephihah was made Chief Judge by the prophet Alma after Alma devoted himself solely to the ministry. His sons teach us a lesson about following leadership. One of his sons is indirectly responsible for the birth of the Gadianton Robbers. The same robbers that become the civilization’s doom later on. So, basically relatively little.

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Rebekah’s Lesson

“Granddaughter,” Rebekah heard the older, familiar voice call to her. “Come here, please.”

The eleven year old glanced at her grandmother who was sitting in the shade by their adobe hut which served as a home for her, her older brother, her parents, and her grandmother. Rebekah looked back at the trail that led down to the creek where her friends were gathering to refresh themselves from the summer heat. At first, she thought of continuing her trip down the trail, but she knew better than to ignore her grandmother. Again. It was a lesson she had learned the hard way.

Letting out an audible sigh, she changed her direction and walked over to the venerable woman that sat smiling at her.

“Yes, Grandmother?” Rebekah asked with her head down and making sure the disappointment colored her voice just a little, but not enough to get her into trouble for complaining.

“Ah,” her grandmother said still smiling, “it is nice to see you can learn to obey. Your father will be well pleased.”

Rebekah resented the fact that her shortcomings were common knowledge and looked at her grandmother. She could feel her small face become red with anger, but she dared not say anything.

“And you are learning to control your temper. A feat many in the village thought could not be done!” her grandmother exclaimed as she smiled and tipped her head back.

Rebekah glanced furtively at the trail that disappeared behind the village and wished even more to still be on it.

Her grandmother grew serious. “It is time you and I take a walk.” Rebekah looked at her grandmother just as the elderly woman slowly stood on her feet. “Come,” she said as she held out her hand. “Walk with me before you join your friends.”

There was little else Rebekah could do but to take the skinny, wrinkled hand extended to her and walk beside the frail woman. As they walked, her grandmother leaned on the young girl slightly, who was already the same height as her, to support herself. What time had done to the grandmother’s aging body to slow it down had not touched her mind in the least. Her eyes darted around from one thing to another noticing everything and enjoying the colorful flowers and all the little animals in the dense forest.

When the two had moved far enough away from the village, her grandmother’s voice grew serious. “I saw you today,” she spoke softly as she stopped walking and looked into her granddaughter’s eyes.

“What do you mean, Grandmother?”

“I saw you making fun of Jacob with the other children today.”

Rebekah lowered her head as she thought about the events that had happened earlier that day. “Oh,” she said softly.

“Would you care to explain?”

“The others always make fun of him. They say it is his own fault he was born the way he is. That he must have done something wrong in the great pre-life to be born with his lame foot and blind eyes. They say he is dirty and evil and if I touch him, I will catch his evil spirit.”

Her grandmother continued to look at her almost as if trying to stare into her soul. At least, that’s what Rebekah thought. “First of all,” the older woman sounded loving yet firm, “that is untrue. Every bit of it is untrue. Do you believe me?”

Even though the young girl found these lectures from her grandmother a great inconvenience, she knew better than to disagree with her. She nodded her head once, slowly in agreement.

Her grandmother smiled at her. “Here, let us find a place to sit down while we talk.” Rebekah found a log for the two to sit on and made sure her grandmother was comfortable. “There are always two voices in everyone’s head,” the old woman said. “One is the voice of self, it makes sure that the self is taken care of. Although it is important to listen to, it must not drown out the other voice, the voice of service. This too is an important voice, it tells us to help those around us. When we listen to both voices in the proper way, our lives become harmonious, like a beautiful song, and we are happy.”

Rebekah listened to her grandmother’s words and promised she would try harder to listen to both voices instead of just the self voice.

 

The next day, Rebekah was walking with one of her friends to the meadow where a group of their friends were meeting, when she heard her grandmother call for her. Instinctively, she rolled her eyes before turning to the elderly woman. “Yes, Grandmother?” she asked nervously.

The wise old woman smiled at her and said, “Come.”

Her granddaughter looked at her friend, who could do nothing more than give her a look of sympathy. Rebekah watched her friend for a moment continue down the path before she slowly walked to the patiently waiting woman. “Yes, grandmother?” she asked again.

“Come,” was again the only reply as the old woman held out her hand. Rebekah helped her grandmother stand and they walked in the same direction as the day before. When they came to the same clearing they had stopped at on their previous walk, the old woman sat down on the log again. Her granddaughter sat down beside her and waited quietly for what was to come.

“I saw you today.”

Rebekah could not help herself and let out an audible sigh. “I did not make fun of Jacob today. I did not make fun of anybody today. In fact, I’ve tried really hard to be good.”

Her grandmother smiled sweetly at her. “I know of your efforts. I saw that you did not join in with the others when they made fun of him today.”   She stared into Rebekah’s eyes for a moment. “But I also watched as you passed by Jacob without stopping, even though he was crying out for help.”

“But I tried to be good. I really did. I thought of helping him, I heard the voice of service inside my head to do so, but then, I also heard the self voice disguised as my friends’ voices in my head, and…” she looked down. At the time it happened, her reason for not stopping made perfect sense.   But now, it was hard for her to defend herself.

“I would like to share a story with you,” her grandmother spoke softly.

Rebekah’s eyes lit up. Her grandmother knew her granddaughter’s weakness was hearing stories. The young girl could sit and listen for hours if somebody would tell her a story that long. She eagerly nodded her head for her grandmother to continue.

The wise old woman closed her eyes and her words came slowly at first. “This is a story that I heard when I was a young girl at the Great Meeting.” Her eyes opened and they were clear and vivid. “It was told to me by an angel as I sat on his lap. I have remembered this lesson and tried to live it in my everyday life.

“A Nephite went down from Zarahemla and fell among some Gadianton Robbers. These robbers stripped him of his clothes, wounded him, and left him for dead.

“By chance, there came a Chief Judge who passed by. But he crossed over to the other side of the road and continued on his way without stopping.

“A little later, a priest came along. He did not stop either, but continued hastily on his way.

“But a certain Lamanite, as he came along the road had compassion on him. He went to him, and bound up his wounds, put him upon his own beast, and took him to an inn.

“The next day, the Lamanite departed but left the innkeeper two silver senums and told him to take care of the Nephite. He promised if the innkeeper spent more than what he had left, he would pay him back when he traveled back through the land.”

Her grandmother paused for a moment but did not take her eyes from Rebekah’s. “Then the angel asked me which of the three provided this man the greatest service?”

Rebekah noticed her grandmother waiting for a reply. “The Lamanite,” she said softly. Even though there were no more so-called Lamanites and Nephites in the land, she had grown up hearing stories and reading the sacred books that described what life was like before the Great Meeting. She knew enough to know the two groups of people were bitter enemies and despised each other.

“That’s right,” her grandmother smiled. “I will tell you what the angel told me, ‘Go and do thou likewise.’”

The young girl listened intently to the wise woman’s words. “Go and do thou likewise,” she repeated softly.

Her grandmother smiled. “That means listening to service’s voice, even if other voices try to crowd it out. But the thought is the seed, the act is the fruition. Just as planting a fruit tree does no good until it bears fruit, service does not do any good when it remains a thought. The harvest comes with the action.”

Rebekah nodded her head once. The old woman’s words sunk into her heart as she thought of their meaning.

“Come,” her grandmother took her hand. “It is time for you to join your friends.”

 

The next day, Rebekah ran to her grandmother. “Grandmother, Grandmother,” she called out. The elderly woman came to the door as fast as she could. “Come,” her young granddaughter said as she reached her hand out for the old woman’s hand.

The old woman obligingly walked with the excited little girl to the same spot as the previous two days. Her curiosity was piqued, but she waited for her granddaughter to explain.

“Grandmother,” the young girl said, “I think I understand now what you have been trying to teach me.”

Her grandmother continued to look at her, unsure of where the conversation was leading.

“I saw Jacob today, while I was with my friends. We started to walk by him as usual, but I heard the voice in my head again telling me to stop and help. Quickly, the self voice came also, but this time, I pushed it aside as you said, and I didn’t listen to it. At first, my friends thought I was getting ready to play a joke on him so they stopped and watched me. But when they saw I was trying to help him, their curiosity became greater and they came over to us to see what was going on. When a whole group of us were gathered, Jacob told us a marvelous story, Grandmother, that made me feel so good inside. This is what he said:

‘I have been on this great earth for many years. I can remember when most of your parents were born. Many of your grandparents are friends of mine. Have they told you the story? Do you know and understand what a blessed people we are?

‘I remember the time of great wars and destruction. When our people divided into tribes based on families and how we banded together to get rid of the robbers. I was a young boy then, but I remember it well.

‘I also remember the great earthquakes and darkness that lasted for three days. A darkness so thick and so great, it is hard for you to understand. Though I was born into a dark world, even I could feel this darkness. I remember lying on the ground with my family, for there was not much else we could do, and hearing the groans and moans of people throughout all the land. Those three days were the longest in my life as I sat with the others and waited, and listened.

‘During those three days of darkness, I thought I would die, if I hadn’t already. Perhaps, I thought, I have already passed on and this is the great after life.

‘Then, in my darkest despair, a most marvelous thing happened. A voice from heaven was heard. His voice which brought the greatest comfort and feeling.

‘At the end of the three days, after it had again become light, my father carried me, as he led the rest of my family to the temple. We were among those that decided to gather there to find out what we should do next. Listen very carefully to what I say next because this is the most exciting part of my story. You see, while we were there, Jesus Christ himself came and taught those of us gathered there. Do each of you hear and understand what I am saying? I was there when our Savior came.

‘After He had taught us many wonderful things, He told us to go home and prepare ourselves for the next day because He would come back and teach us more. I was so sad that the day had come to an end. There must have been others who felt the same way, because instead of leaving, He took pity on us. He asked us to bring all our sick and afflicted to him.. He could have left, there was work to be done, but He asked for us to come to Him.

‘My father carried me to Him. I was very excited because I knew He had the power to help me see and to let me walk. More than anything, I wanted to be able to run with the other children my age. When it came time for Him to lay His hands on me, I heard His gentle voice ask, ‘Jacob, what is it thou desires?’ Instead of saying that I wanted to be healed, I remained quiet. I thought that I had wanted to be healed more than anything, but another thought crept into my mind, and I could not answer.

‘Jacob,’ my father said trying to get me to reply.

‘I heard the Savior’s voice again. ‘He desires a far greater thing than you realize.’ And I thought I heard him wipe away a tear.

‘Father,’ I said, ‘I desire to help other people find the Savior as we have found Him. I will keep my blind eyes and lame foot and others will find the Savior through service to me.’

‘My father carried me back to my family and explained what had happened. Many tears were shed that day, but none so great as mine for I had truly been given a great gift.’

 

Rebekah finished the narrative and looked at her grandmother with tears in her eyes. “I have learned, to serve others is to show our love for our Savior.”

It took a moment before her grandmother could speak. “Granddaughter,” she said softly with tears in her eyes, “you have done well. Remember this feeling you feel right now, because the self voice will always attempt to overpower service’s voice. Remember your feelings. Remember Jacob’s words. Remember my teachings.”

The two embraced and hugged tightly.

© 2014 ck’s days