Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Testifying Tuesday: Dad Too Can Testify

Testifying Tuesday is officially part of the blog. Every Tuesday I will post a different person's testimony of The Book of Mormon - or how they came to know that The Book of Mormon is a true word of God.

I thought I would start out with the man that has influenced my life the most - my dad

Douglas Taylor Anderson
My dad has been a quiet example to me all of my life. He is one of the most Christ-like people that I know and he works hard as a disciple of Jesus Christ without any self-promotion. I remember as a teenager sometimes waking up early to finish some homework, or getting up in the night to get some water, or maybe just being up WAY too late and seeing my dad sitting at the table at 4:30am studying his scriptures. I remember walking by his room and seeing him kneeling beside his bed in humble prayer. I remember how every. single. night. we would have family scripture study and family prayer. No matter what - he made sure that we had it. The very few times he was out of town - I think he called us to make sure we had had prayer and scripture study that night. Mostly, I remember seeing my dad dropping whatever he was doing and leaving the house in a shirt and tie, not even uttering a complaint or a sigh, to go and serve some other lamb of the fold. Seeing the importance of the gospel in his life - it easily became the main focus of my life. He is faithful, humble, and obedient - or in other words, he is powerful. His example has shaped my desires - which have shaped who I have become. I asked him to share his testimony of The Book of Mormon. The testimony that changed the life of his children - and therefore the lives of those we meet.

Dad Too Can Testify:
      I have been a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for 52 years.   During those years I have lived in three different countries, five different states and earned two bachelor degrees and one DDS.  I have had many experiences including marrying and raising four children and working as a general dentist in suburban Chicago.   I have enjoyed many good things in life, particularly the love and warmth of good family and many friends. 
       Recently I was feeling that I wanted to know more clearly and succinctly truths regarding my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  I felt that I wanted to know more concisely Heavenly Father’s will concerning me.  I also wanted to feel stronger spiritually.  I wanted to feel greater love towards others and a greater ability to resist temptation.  I wanted to have a purer heart and happier mind.  I wished for a clearer answer to my prayers and a greater closeness to my Heavenly Father.  I wanted to know with greater assurance that God knew who I was and heard and answered my prayers.  I wanted greater faith and increased ability to lead my family and to do well in my career.   I wanted greater peace of mind and peace of conscience. 
This was quite a list of desires and goals.
      I had heard that someone had read the Book of Mormon from beginning to end once a month for a year with a very positive spiritual result.
      In order to find these spiritual gifts I decided to read the Book of Mormon with great intent.  I had first read the Book of Mormon from beginning to end when I was 18 years old.  Since that time I have read it from beginning to end about once every three or four years, for a total of about 10 to 12 times.  
This time I read the Book of Mormon once a month for each of three consecutive months.    I would get up early in the morning and read 18 pages before I started the day.   Once I finished the book I would start again.
     The results for me were very good.  I allowed the good feelings and thoughts that I had as I read to change my attitudes and character.  With time I realized that my spiritual goals were being fulfilled.  It was a gradual benefit but a benefit nonetheless.  I was grateful for the gradual changes that took place in my character.  Even though others may not have noticed any positive changes in my character, I did.  I can say for me the spiritual power of studying the Book of Mormon is immense.  I love the deep drinks of spiritual living waters if gives to my soul, because the book speaks of Jesus Christ.  The book teaches of Jesus Christ and explains Him to my soul in such a way that I am motivated to be a better person.
The Book of Mormon is of God and teaches of Jesus Christ.  It is a true book of Holy Scripture. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

How was your spiritual jog this morning?

I think there is a universal experience that all people have in common...

That moment when you are driving in your car somewhere and you see somebody going for a run down the street.
and all of a sudden you feel super bad that you are driving your car.

Even if you try and fight it, it seems like there is an automatic emotional response of "oh man. I should go for a run"
We even go so far as to justify in our heads "okay I am DEFINITELY going on a run tomorrow"

I was thinking today about how much influence one person running outside has on the people that he or she passes. Think about how many cars go by that one person running and how many people in those cars are forced to assess, in some way or another, the way their health is going.
Whether we admit it or not, I think most of us do a sort of self-evaluation upon seeing these runners.

And how awesome that maybe that one person running this morning - wakes up another 2 people to go on a run later that week, or to not get some more ice cream at the store that day.

I was thinking about that as we were walking down the street yesterday.
As a missionary, it seems that EVERY car that passes us has some sort of reaction. Whether it is positive, negative or a simple gawking stare. Sometimes as missionaries, I think we feel that we aren't doing enough to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ.
But then I thought about the influence of a runner. Just like those runners, we make a statement we make a statement when we walk down the street. Whether people are regularly working out spiritually or not - in that moment when their glance catches us, they know it. And hopefully there reaction is "I'm going to do a better spiritual jog tomorrow by studying my scriptures a little more seriously or praying with a softer heart or helping that neighbor Ive been thinking about all day" as they assess how they are doing spiritually.

And hopefully people start planning the next time they will be going to church, or talking to our Heavenly Father.

So as this post runs past you today - How was YOUR spiritual jog this morning?

Did you stretch beforehand by praying to your Heavenly Father for the spirit to guide you? Or did you start without even warming up? Did you jog with a friend? Did you finish your jog and ruin it by eating a whole plate of brownies (falling back into your favorite sin, not applying what you learned, not progressing)?
If it has been a while since your last spiritual jog - you might be worried about getting sore. It's okay. The pain of returning is nothing compared to the relief and joy you will feel.

If anybody needs suggestions on a good spiritual jog, let me know - I have some favorite routes that still take my breath away.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

If you watch one thing on this blog, you should probably watch this...

2 missionaries and now dear friends, Elder Volavola and Elder Harrison, have both taught me a lot while I have served with them here in California. They are examples to me of great faith and they have been gracious enough to share their experiences here on the mission with others through this amazing video.
I know that our Heavenly Father's watchful care is powerful, loving, and very real.

They know it too. Just watch...

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Power of the Holy Ghost

Short simple thought today:

I turned 5 in the mission today - meaning that I have been out for 5 months. This means for the last 5 months I have been trying to learn and progress to be fluent in Spanish.
I am now serving with an English-speaking companion and the challenges of the Spanish language seem to taunting me and tempting me to doubt. It may be something difficult - to teach and communicate with people in a language that we have very little experience in.

But we go out anyway. And we believe anyway. And we do it anyway.
by the power of the Holy Ghost.
Sometimes we enter a house and the language barrier can feel like a big pile of bricks - and that us trying to communicate is like trying to stick little written messages through the cracks or move these heavy bricks one at a time or even try to just peak around and see eye to eye.
But then we start teaching, and we start talking about eternal truths that our Heavenly Father has taught us and the Holy Ghost testifies in a way that these big awkward intrusive stones dissolve. For you see, the communication of the Holy Ghost doesnt submit to any barriers.
Truth is truth in any language. And when truth is proclaimed, the Holy Ghost attends.

I said that the Holy Ghost doesnt submit to any barriers and I stand by that - but there are some certain barriers that we fix within ourselves that deflect the Spirit from us.
I, of course, speak of sin.
As we sin, as we make wrong choices and seperate ourselves from the Lord, we can set up our own barriers with the Holy Ghost so that we can not feel its simple but powerful influence.
Many times, I believe that our ability to feel the Spirit is in direct relation to how much we desire to feel it.
And that desire, when strong enough, will drive us to make right choices in order to receive more light and truth from our loving Heavenly Father.

For all those who desire to feel of the testifying power of the Holy Ghost - will feel it.
Sometimes that desire requires the action of repentance.
Whatever action it takes, I am willing to do it to feel of that powerful influence in my life, to be the witness of miracles, and the receiver of truth.

For those seekers of intelligence and truth, it seems to me the only logical thing to pursue is how to have the Holy Ghost as a more constant companion in your life.
For those seekers of comfort and peace, it seems to me that the logical thing is to seek for ways to have the Holy Ghost be a more consistent power day by day.
For those seekers of progression and salvation, it seems to me that the logical thing is to take the necessary steps to invite the Holy Ghost to be more present in every moment.

Faith, repentance, baptism, and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost - to me - just seems like the only logical thing to do.
For I would do anything to continue to have the Holy Ghost with me - as I witness that it breaks down impossible tasks and barriers day after day.

Friday, September 2, 2011

I found my soul sister on Mormon Messages...

I can't even explain how much I wish I had seen this when I was in high school.
In this video a girl named Brooke describes her conviction to keep her standards as tall as she is.
I feel like Im looking at a home video or something. I can really identify with her. This is what growing up was all about for me...

Enjoy :)