Category Archives: religion

He Will Heal Our Hearts

If you don’t believe in Jesus Christ and are not interested in a religious topic, skip this post.
As our daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter grieve the loss of their stillborn son and brother and our sister-in-law grieves the loss of her brother, I wish I could take away their pain.  I can’t imagine the ache in their hearts as they miss their baby and brothers.

I know that Jesus Christ knows their pain and can lift the burden of grief as they (and we) pray to Him for comfort.

I used to wonder how Christ could relate to my pain.  He didn’t sin so how could He know of the pain and anguish I felt from making poor choices?  And how could He relate to pain from illness or grief when He had such a short life?

I’ve since come to understand the Atonement a little better.  Jesus Christ knew what His mission on earth was.  He knew He wouldn’t be here long.  Knowing His mission, and that He would pay the price for our sins, had to be an incredibly lonely feeling.  If anyone could honestly say “nobody understands me”, it would be Him.  He knew that God, the Eternal Father, knew Him and was there to strengthen Him.

We read, in the scriptures, that He did suffer grief and pain; more than I ever have.  But does He actually know what you or I are going through?  I mean, other than watching us go through it and feeling the heartache like a loving parent has for their suffering child?  I believe He has actually, physically, experienced everything that I have gone through.  He was able to do this through the miracle of the Atonement.  He asked the Eternal Father to bless Him to experience these things.

Alma, an ancient prophet, prophesied of Christ’s atonement: “And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities” (Alma 7:11–12; emphasis added).  Luke tells us that His pain was so extreme that “his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:44, Doctrine & Covenants 19:18-19).  And He did it willingly; just so He could comfort us when we had to endure the pain.  I wonder if experiencing our infirmites made it easier for Him to endure paying for our sins?

Our pain doesn’t, usually, immediately go away when we pray that Jesus will heal us or lift our burden.  But, over time, as we trust Him and rely on Him and listen to Him, our pain gets lighter and we are able to bear it.

I remember a description of, or analogy about, how our trials strengthen us.  It describes how a wound in our flesh heals.  As it heals, it builds scar tissue.  The scar tissue is actually stronger than the original tissue.  It takes time, patience and endurance.  But, the wound DOES heal.  Maybe the love of family and friends is like the ointment used to comfort and protect the wound until it is scarred?

Our hearts go out to you.  We pray that your hearts will heal.  We love you dearly.

I looked and looked for the pastel drawing of Jesus and a todler looking into each other’s faces.  I couldn’t find it.  But this is about as close as it gets:

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Waiting for the Green Flash

But the green flash never appeared.

The light sky baited me out to the beach for a nice, although quick, walk this morning.

Tillicum sunrise looking north
Tillicum sunrise looking north

I said “quick” because there was a huge, dark, cloud making its way across the ocean.

Tillicum sunrise from low tide
Tillicum sunrise from low tide

So there was a little bit of color in the sky.  Then it turned a little drizzely.   We got our driving done early so we could spend the sunny afternoon working in Tillicum Campground.

Tillicum Sunset
Tillicum Sunset

It was looking like it would be a great sunset.  So I warned Don that I’d be leaving the table, in the middle of dinner, if there was color in the sky.

Clouds blocking green flash
Clouds blocking green flash

The closer the sun got to the horizon, the more I could see these “tiny” little clouds way out on the horizon.

Tillicum Sunset from Site 31
Tillicum Sunset from Site 31

We were reflecting today on why the friday before Easter is called “Good” Friday.  My first thought was that, if I’d been there I don’t think I would have considered it a good day.  However, apparently “Good” is an interpretation of the word “Holy”.  That day certainly was a holy day for Jesus Christ and all His followers; and it still is…over 2000 years later.  What a gift He has given me in that intercessory prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Out like a lamb on the Oregon Coast!

Wow!  March really WAS ‘in like a lion and out like a lamb’!

Blue Sky over Tillicum Beach and Campground
Blue Sky over Tillicum Beach and Campground

April Fools!

But…we COULD see the sun today.  It’s possible!   There’s only 80% chance of rain.

Oh well, it’s a good day to stay inside to watch the LDS General Conference. 🙂

Notes from my Workamping Journal:

All blinds open to let in what daylight there might be.  Can see all but one camper from 5th wheel.

Checked/cleaned both restrooms.  One camper is already gone; others are not yet visible.

Quick walk on the windy beach before it rains.

Thinking…..’boy am I gonna get wet when if I’m still out here when that rain cloud hits!  (looking down)  Oh, and it’s not even high tide yet – my feet could get wet any minute!’

The Oregon Coast Beach Cleanup was yesterday so I only found one thing to pick up today; a wine bottle (empty).

Scurry back to the 5th wheel to implement my April Fool’s “joke”.

Spiritual Blessings from the Sea

So I’m substituting this month for the sunbeam teacher in Primary. The lesson was about God and Jesus creating the fish and other ocean creatures for us to enjoy and use for food.

The first Bible story was about Jonah being swallowed by a big fish.  Of course there is more than that to the story but that’s what the children focused on.  I tried to tell it in a way that wouldn’t scare the innocence out these sweet little 3 year-olds.  Honestly, I think all the children heard was ‘blah blah blah blah blah

swallowed by a whale

blah blah blah blah’

Fishers of Men
Fishers of Men

I had a picture of the next experience to get them back on track.  It was from Luke 5 when Jesus entered Simeon Peter’s boat to avoid the press of the people so he could continue teaching.  Then he told Simeon Peter where to let down his net.  He had a little doubt, but with faith, did what Jesus told him and the load of fish nearly broke his net.  Simeon Peter was amazed and Jesus told him to “follow me and I’ll make you fishers of men”.

Driftwood
Driftwood

As I was walking on the beach, at sunset tonight, I saw this huge log.  It just appeared out of nowhere.  The ocean just heaved it up onto the beach.  It reminded me of the huge fish spitting Jonah out of its stomach.  🙂  That’s what got me rethinking about how this fish was a “blessing” to Jonah.

The other Bible verses were obvious ways that fish are blessings (feeding thousands with the loaves and fishes, making fishers of men, etc).  The beginning of Jonah’s experience was when he was disobedient to the Lord.  The Lord told Jonah to go into a city that was known to have lots of wicked people and tell them to repent.  Jonah was scared and didn’t want to go.  Jonah’s fish experience did get him to repent.  On the third day in the belly of the fish he prayed.  He probably prayed more sincerely and desperately than he’d ever prayed before!  The Lord heard his prayers.  The fish spit him out and Jonah went to the city.  Many people in the city listened to Jonah.  So their lives were blessed by that fish.   I think that fish was a blessing to Jonah in the way that a dramatic trial is a blessing to me after it is over.

I’m afraid I wasn’t successful in explaining this idea to my 3 year-olds.  I always learn more, as a teacher, though.  But they got the general idea and I gave them goldfish crackers for a snack.   🙂   I wonder what they’ll say to Mom and Dad when they ask what they learned today?

Notes from my Workamping Journal:

Although church isn’t a part of this workamping gig, it is a vital part of my life.  We encourage our hosts to go to their church.  We can use all the spirituality we can get.

Snow/Hail/Rain/Wind at Tillicum Beach Campground

We’ve had a little of everything today!  I don’t know what the temps are but my forehead head hurts from the freezing wind – hahaha

Earlier this morning, the tall clouds (full of hail) were lit up by the rising sun.  I, of course, didn’t have my camera because I was just going to do a quick check of the campground bathrooms before getting ready for church.  If any of you are familiar with “workamping” you know there is NO such thing as a “quick check”.  So, this afternoon, I made sure I had the camera and I was not disappointed.

Storm Watching at Tillicum Campground
Storm Watching at Tillicum Campground

Dark clouds come barreling in; looking so ominous.  I stand under the trees to dodge the hail and light rain.   Then, minutes later, the sun peeks through the clouds and you can see blue sky on the horizon.  Sometimes the long, steady, days of rain gets to me here on the Oregon Coast.  But I love watching the storms.  It’s like watching the waves.  You never know what you’re gonna get!  Didn’t Forest Gump say that?

So, Mormonism is a cult?

Totally off-category:  This won’t be of interest to my regular readers of my travel blog.  Just ignore it or feel free to unsubscribe.  Maybe you found this by searching for “mormon, cult” though?  Since I know something about my religion, I thought I’d weigh in on the subject.  So, here’s a little info for you to consider:

When I think of a cult, I think of a group of people who believe in a person who professes to be authorized by God to lead them (a prophet).  That leader has convinced them to follow him (or her) without question.  For the leader to convince someone that way, and get complete compliance, would be a form of slavery or, at least, abuse.  So the leader would have to be very clever to convince them that they were “choosing” to submit to him.  This would require mental and emotional, or psychological, manipulation.  It causes an addiction of sorts; removing a person’s ability (or desire) to choose.  It has been called brain-washing.

A major characteristic of a cult is that the people need to be isolated from family and friends who are outside the cult.  This is so non-believers cannot influence their thinking or cause doubt as to the validity of the leader’s authority and teachings.

How are people able to “choose” to believe in such a person?  Are they weak-minded?  How would I make sure I don’t fall into such a trap?  How do I know what is true?  Is truth variable depending on the person looking for it?  I believe that truth, in all things, comes from God the Eternal Father.  Truth is not variable. God knows our individual needs.  He knows what we need at any given time during our life.  He knows what will bring us closer to Him.  If we are looking for the truth, about anything, we can ask God and He will reveal it to us through the Holy Ghost.  Ah, ha! …you say.  What does the Holy Ghost sound like?  How does he speak to us?  Now there is a life-long quest.  He speaks to me in many different ways; a peace of mind, a warm feeling, a thought, reading a scripture with the answer I’ve been looking for, advice from a friend.  It does not feel like fear or a threat or criticism or harshness.  Sometimes I’ve dismissed a prompting from the Holy Ghost; thinking “I knew better”.  I
later found out that it was a prompting that I should have heeded.  No one told me that, I just learned by experiencing the consequences.  It is this process that helps us use our gut feelings or best judgment to determine
right from wrong, truth from fiction and whether it is the Holy Ghost’s influence or some other.

So, getting back to Mormonism being a cult…the head of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is Jesus Christ.  His mouthpiece on earth, in any dispensation since the beginning of time (check out the Bible) is called a prophet.  Keep in mind that a person cannot just proclaim to be a prophet.  Authority must be given from God.  (See above: How do I know what is true?)  Our prophets have never said anything to the membership without telling us to ask God to know if it is true.  The membership (individual or as a group) has never been isolated from family, friends, acquaintances or even enemies.  Even in the early days of the church, when they were moving to escape persecution, missionaries were sent out.  How many cults do you know of that would send out 2 19-year old boys to go into stranger’s homes to find new members?  NONE!  Because they’d lose them all!

If you need to enslave someone, without using drugs, you have to convince them that they don’t need to trust their own judgment but that they can trust you as the ultimate authority.

Well, the only ultimate authority, according to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint doctrine, is Jesus Christ.  Ask God the Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, if something is true and He will tell you through the Holy Spirit.  Ask Him specific questions.  Should I apply for this job?  Should I be here with these people?  Should I read this article?  Should I read this book?  It doesn’t have to be a long, drawn-out, prayer.  You just need to be sincerely wanting an answer and willing to act upon that answer.  If we are open to the influence of the Holy Spirit, “gut feelings” will lead us to the truth.  It doesn’t matter if the prophet says it or we read it on the label of the mayonnaise jar; we can seek guidance from the ultimate authority, Jesus Christ, when we need to know the truth.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not a cult.  My study, prayer and experience tells me this
is true.  It is a religion that promotes the highest degree of freedom and liberty to the individual.  It’s chief cornerstone is Jesus Christ.  You’ll have to read the Book of Mormon to know what it says.  You can’t be brain-washed just by reading and sincerely praying to know if it is true.  The Book of Mormon doesn’t replace the Holy
Bible.  It supports it.  It adds a second witness to the divinity of Jesus Christ.

Here are the Articles of Faith of the church.

Here are some recent teachings from our prophet, Thomas S. Monson, and the Book of Mormon:

From the Book of Mormon come other precious promises, including promises of peace, freedom, and blessings if we “will but serve the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ” (Ether 2:12).

From its pages comes the promise of “never-ending happiness” to “those that keep the commandments of God.  For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual” (Mosiah 2:41).

From its pages comes the promise of “incomprehensible joy” to those who become “instruments[s] in the hands of God” in rescuing His precious sons and daughters (Alma 28:8, 29:9).

From its pages comes the promise that as we pray unto the Father in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, our families will be blessed (see 3 Nephi 18:21).

From a study of its pages comes the fulfillment of the prophetic promise that “there will come into your lives and
into your homes an added measure of the Spirit of the Lord, a strengthened resolution to walk in obedience to His commandments, and a stronger testimony of the living reality of the Son of God.”

And from the pages of the Book of Mormon comes Moroni’s promise that through prayer, real intent, and faith in
Christ, we may know the truth of these promises “by the power of the Holy Ghost” (see Moroni 10:4-5).