Archive for 2008

Book of Mormon Challenge Update

December 1st, 2008 by Alex  |  Published in Uncategorized  |  4 Comments

Last week I had a chance to finish the Book of Mormon Challenge Anniversary. Even with lots of other distractions like school and Holidays, I managed to finish a little bit early, which I am really proud of myself for. The first time I did this challenge, back when President Hinckley issued the challenge to everyone, I spent a lot of Christmas break reading, but this time I felt less rushed and it went really well. I regret that I didn’t post updates here more often, because I really learned a lot. I can share with you, though, that my testimony of the Book of Mormon has grown. I know that it is true, and I know that reading it daily has helped me considerably.

One of the final books in the Book of Mormon is actually written by a prophet named Mormon (he compiled many records together, so that is why the whole work also bears his name). As I was reading through his writings, I was impressed by the fact that he was faithful when all others around had forgotten about God. I have thought a lot recently about wickedness in the world, and it seems like fewer and fewer people believe in God, and those who don’t are very adamant about their ideas. Mormon’s writings help me recognize that living the gospel is possible in a godless world.

Thanks to everyone who participated in the Book of Mormon Challenge with me! I’d love to hear more about your experiences reading the Book of Mormon again.

Feeding a Family with Food Storage

October 2nd, 2008 by Alex  |  Published in Finances  |  4 Comments

Have you seen the cost of a loaf of bread lately? Wow. Julia went to Wal-Mart today, and the bread that was marked on the shelf as $2.80 rang up at over four dollars. Yikes. Four bucks for a normal loaf of bread. What does that mean? I think it’s time to bring out the recipe books and food storage. Not only is food storage good for disaster or emergency preparedness, but it’s also a nice hedge against expensive food prices.

Julia is working on putting a bunch of our recipes into MasterCook on our computer, and we’re working on building up our food storage in our pantry and our freezer. We’re working on building up our food storage from a few-weeks supply to one that will hopefully last longer than that.

So we have some food in our pantry, but what do we do with it? In any family, but especially in a family with children, it’s always good to have recipes that can actually be cooked. Kaydee sent me a link to Food Storage Recipes, a blog she writes about recipes that can be enjoyed by a family.

Food storage has been a topic that our prophets have counseled us on ever since I can remember. In the recent pamphlets All is Safely Gathered In, they share lots of advice and promises that come along with being prepared in this way. For more information about the Mormon church and food storage, visit providentliving.org.

A Key to Progression

September 25th, 2008 by Alex  |  Published in Uncategorized  |  Write Comment

When we remember to heed God’s counsel, we can be blessed with more of that counsel. Who isn’t up for a little free advice from someone who knows just what we need?

For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have.

-2 Nephi 28:30

This is one of my favorite scriptures. In some ways it’s very intimidating; I know that I could always improve at “lend[ing] an ear to [His] counsel”. In other ways, it’s very reassuring. The essence of this scripture is that God will bless us with continual understanding if we look to Him. If we don’t wish to learn more, then he won’t give it to us. General Conference is coming up in a little over a week. Now is a great time to prepare for the messages that we will receive.

The Going Gets Hard

September 23rd, 2008 by Alex  |  Published in Uncategorized  |  2 Comments

Life is busy, and moving by at a rapid pace. In a way, it’s good, because it means I’m getting through some stretches of hard work right now, which is hopefully my final Fall semester of graduate school. There are all kinds of projects and other work to do, which means that it’s easy to neglect other things. In that way, life moving so quickly can be bad, or at least challenging. There are all kinds of voices everywhere calling for attention, and I learned last week that I need to widen my focus away from my studies.

Last Wednesday, I was in the middle of working on a big programming project. I’m a decent programmer, but I was a little rusty. I spent all day staring at a few pages of code, and I was tearing my hair out over the smallest things. I called a classmate to figure out what I was doing wrong, and when it was time to go home, I was exhausted, but still worried about my program. He suggested that I take a little walk or find some way to think about some other stuff for a bit, which I finally did. When I got home I took a little break and played with our daughter. A few hours later, I went back to look at my program, and something just clicked that hadn’t before. I realized that our own abilities are magnified when we take little breaks and just keep working hard at something.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what I can do in case we’re at the beginnings of some sort of global depression. I don’t have the power to personally stabilize the stock markets, but I do have some power to stabilize my own life. In fact, the reminder that Helaman related to his sons in the Book of Mormon applies to all of us:

And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the arock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your bfoundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty cstorm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.

Helaman 5:12, The Book of Mormon

It’s up to me to live on a foundation based on Christ. Life is still busy and it’s still stressful, but there is a certain calm that comes into my life as I remember this. That’s a big part of the reason that I haven’t given up on The Book of Mormon Challenge Anniversary. How is your reading going? There’s still plenty of time to finish the challenge! I’m currently finishing 2 Nephi, so I’m a bit behind where I’d like to be, but things are still moving forward. Thanks to all of those who are reading along with me!

The Book of Mormon Challenge Anniversary

August 21st, 2008 by Alex  |  Published in Uncategorized  |  6 Comments

Three years ago, President Gordon B. Hinckley issued a challenge to read the Book of Mormon by the end of the year. ReadTheScriptures.com has reissued that challenge, and I’ve taken them up on it. If you’d like to follow along with me, join our group on Facebook (search for “Book of Mormon Challenge Anniversary”).

I was glad to participate in the original challenge, even though I didn’t get going very quickly in the beginning. Although I did have to read for a couple of hours at the end of the challenge, it provided me with an experience that I won’t soon forget. My wife and I both finished just before the end of the year while we were on vacation from school, and I can vividly remember the experience of sitting at the dining room table and reading scriptures.

So far I’m just two days into my 90-day reading schedule, but things are going pretty well. You can read my earlier review of ReadTheScriptures.com to learn more, but basically this site can send you a copy of your assigned reading each day via email, which comes as a friendly reminder to read the scriptures that day. It works all of the standard words (The Bible, The Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price) as well as many other church materials including Church Magazines and Sunday lessons. Here’s a quote from the newsletter about the new challenge:

Our Read the Scriptures program was inspired through the Book of Mormon reading challenge President Hinckley issued in August 2005: “I offer a challenge to members of the Church throughout the world and to our friends everywhere to read or reread the Book of Mormon.”

That was 3 years ago! We would like to issue this challenge again to all who will join us on this anniversary of the Book of Mormon reading challenge!

Join with all your friends, family, and people around the world to read the Book of Mormon once again before the end of 2008.

To quote President Hinckley: “…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.”

-Read The Scriptures Newsletter, August 20th, 2008

So whether it’s online or the old-fashioned way, I encourage you all to participate in the challenge! If you’d like to join this challenge with me, feel free to join our Facebook Group. If you don’t have a copy of the Book of Mormon, you can request a free copy to be delivered to you.