God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen [Video]

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This is outside the normal range of posts on this site but in the spirit of Christmas and because I enjoy good music I want to share a new version of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen I discovered. It’s performed by Postmodern Jukebox, a fabulously talented group of individuals. The arrangement is far from traditional – the whole thing just works perfectly though.

Merry Christmas!

Stand By Me

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Here’s a beautiful rendition of a beautiful gospel song, a plea for the Lord to remain nearby when traveling through the trials of life.

When the storms of life are raging
Stand by me
When the storms of life are raging
Stand by me
When the world is tossing me
Like a ship upon the sea
Thou who rulest wind and water
Stand by me

In the midst of tribulation
Stand by me
In the midst of tribulation
Stand by me
When the hosts of sin assail
And my strength begins to fail
Thou who never lost a battle
Stand by me

In the midst of faults and failures
Stand by me
In the midst of faults and failures
Stand by me
When I’ve done the best I can
And my friends don’t understand
Thou who knowest all about me
Stand by me

When I’m growing old and feeble
Stand by me
When I’m growing old and feeble
Stand by me
When my life becomes a burden
And I’m nearing chilly Jordan
O Thou Lily of the Valley
Stand by me

What Joseph Millett Learned About Joseph Millett

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The LDS Church created a video telling of an experience a man named Joseph Millett had in serving another in need. What struck me was not so much the service rendered as the lesson Bro. Millett learned.

A man was without flour for bread to feed his family. After trying to visit a few people to ask for flour without success, a Bro. Jones entreated the Lord in prayer. He received a simple answer – go see Joseph Millett. When he showed up at Bro. Millett’s house, Bro. Millett and his family were ready with the flour. What Joseph Millett learned was that the Lord knew he was the person who could and would help another in need. The Lord not only knew Joseph Millett, He knew Joseph Millett would help.

While watching the movie I asked myself if the Lord trusts me enough to have me answer the prayers and need of others.

For more of Joseph MIllett’s story and to read another inspiring story, read Ardis Parshall’s post about a man named George Henry Mecham.

Update

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I wanted to let my reader know that my rate of posts will likely remain slow for the next few months as I focus my efforts on finishing a book (as well as projects related to my career – time with family and church are givens). While I cannot put a firm timeline on my book, I hope to be publishing it as an ebook sometime next year. Much of the text of the book is done, I’m in the editing stages but it’s a slow process, especially for one with fastidious tendencies towards writing. Posts from this website will serve as the foundation of the book, which will consist of a collection of essays that are loosely connected with one another but with the hope that the whole will be greater than the sum of the parts.

I know that’s a cryptic description of the book but it’s too early to say much more about it. I just wanted to let the one person who does read my posts know that finishing my book has taken precedence over writing new posts for this website although I have many thoughts I want to write down so I’ll try to write when I am able.

Meanwhile, feel free to watch and listen to this lovely arrangement of the gospel tune Poor Wayfaring Stranger (lyrics below the video).

LYRICS:

I am a poor wayfaring stranger
While traveling through, this world of woe.
But there’s no sickness, toil or danger
In that bright land, to which I go.
I’m going there to see my father
I’m going there no more to roam;
I’m just a’goin’ over Jordan
I’m just a’goin’ over home.

I know dark clouds will gather round me
I know my way is rough and steep;
Yet beauteous fields lie just before me
Where God’s redeemed no more shall weep
I’m going there to see my mother
She said she’d meet me when I come;
I’m just a’goin’ over Jordan
I’m just a’goin’ over home.

I’ll soon be free from earthly trials,
my body sleep in the old church yard,
I’ll drop the cross of self denial and enter in my great reward,

I’m going, I’m going there to see my Savior
I’m going there – no more to roam,
I’m just a’goin’ over Jordan.
I’m just a’goin’ over home.

Over Home, over home…..I’m just a’goin’ over home.

The District

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BYUtv, in conjunction with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has a new documentary series about 8 missionaries serving in the San Diego, CA mission. It provides a touching, if sometimes superficial, look at the lives of these missionaries. Missions are not easy. They are happy years but also years full of discouragement and difficulty. A mission is a time to try to help others come unto Christ but it is also a time when the missionary experiences a lot of growth. Missions are maturing more than just about any other experience a young woman or young man could be doing at that time. That maturity comes through a solemn, covenant responsibility, one that is weighty but lifting at the same time. I remember clearly how I felt when I was released as a full-time missionary more than 10 years ago. As my Stake President released me through the laying on of hands, I felt a weight lift off me. It was a bittersweet moment – a time of relief over the loss of that burden but also a twinge of regret over the loss of that blessing. I almost felt like sighing with relief and crying with remorse. Missions are beautiful experiences – times to focus on little but helping others follow the Savior. They are also times to really start to learn what being a disciple of Christ entails.

As for the show The District, there’s only one episode out so far so I am looking forward to the next one. Watch the first episode below.

Joseph Smith’s Accounts of the First Vision

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As a missionary one criticism I heard from some individuals who were not friendly towards The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was that there were four accounts of Joseph Smith’s First Vision. Because the versions all differ to some degree, these individuals believed that this proved that Joseph Smith made up his experience.

I always thought this was a strange argument to make, particularly because the Gospels cover the Savior’s ministry but do not tell all the same stories and in the same way. There are repeats (with significant differences) of stories in the Old Testament. What individual recounts a story in exactly the same way on subsequent retellings?

I know why certain individuals brought up the existence of multiple versions of the First Vision – they were trying to use it as justification for their own disbelief or they were trying to instill doubt in the minds of us missionaries. There is nothing inherently wrong with doubts but sometimes people let doubts become stumbling blocks to their faith. The best way to overcome doubts is to seek the Lord earnestly in prayer. We can also study what others have written about matters or discuss the issues with others, preferably people we trust, but the Lord is the source of truth and seeking His inspiration should not be neglected.

I view the multiple accounts of Joseph’s vision as great resources to better understand Joseph’s experience. He spent more than a year contemplating the nature of Christ’s gospel, his need for repentance, the nature of God and the universe, and many other things. He did not simply decide to pray one day, he worked toward that time for more than a year. We are richly blessed by the different accounts of his vision.

If you want to know more about the First Vision and the various accounts, Jeff Lindsay’s post is a great place to start.

Bible Videos in Preparation for Easter

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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been releasing a series of brief videos covering the last period of Christ’s mortal ministry (they will release many more videos in the future covering more of His life and teachings). All the videos the Church has released or will release are available on BibleVideos.org. Each video is professionally but simply and powerfully done, sticking to the King James Version text from the Gospels. I’ll post the videos in temporal order.

Christ’s Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem

The Last Supper

Jesus Warns Peter and Offers the Intercessory Prayer

The Savior Suffers in Gethsemane (click to visit the page, I cannot embed the video yet).

Jesus is Tried by Caiaphas, Peter Denies Knowing Him.

There will be four more videos released before Easter; I’ll post those once they are up.

Come, Listen to a Prophet’s Voice!

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The church put together a brief video with portions of the testimonies of the Lord’s anointed prophets in these latter days. Each testimony is powerful and true. While all words are powerful, there is something special about hearing the voice of the prophets. Thankfully, we have at least audio recordings of most of the prophets’ testimonies.