LDS

How I Hear Him

Last October President Nelson, the president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints promised that the upcoming April General Conference will be nothing like we have ever had before. I’m not sure he meant an empty Conference Center, and absolutely no gathering in the meeting houses to view the sessions together, but he was completely right.

The theme of the Conference, besides the 200th anniversary of the First Vision, seemed to me to be listening to God and fining His presence in the turmoil of these days. When I saw the #HearHim tags on videos, photos and various posts, I knew I had been right.

One of my favorite talks–and there were several this conference as well–was Elder David A. Bednar’s talk, “Let This House Be Built unto My Name”. At the end of his talk, Elder Bednar said, “The fundamental obligations that rest upon us as members of the Lord’s restored Church are (1) to “Hear Him!”24 and have our own hearts changed through covenants and ordinances and (2) to fulfill joyfully the divinely appointed responsibility to offer temple blessings to the entire human family on both sides of the veil. With the Lord’s direction and help, indeed we will fulfill these sacred duties.”

A few weeks later, talking about how he hears Him, Elder Bednar gave us some examples of how we can hear Him, too. Read about it here.

How do I hear Him? Like Elder Bednar said, often I hear Him in the Scriptures. One time I was really struggling with everything, and in particular with my relationship with Heavenly Father. I felt disconnected, and I felt unheard. My bishop advised me to start reading 3 Nephi, regardless of where I had been in my study at that point, or what challenge local or global leaders had given us. So I did. And I heard His voice in the Scripture. I read His words. I saw the resurrected Christ, the Redeemer who had already performed His atoning sacrifice, who no longer needed to perform earthly miracles to bless and serve. I hear Him in the pages of The Book of Mormon every day.

A quick catch up

Wow! Where has the time gone? I’m told that doing something for thirty days forms a habit. Well, considering how much I blogged in November and December this might not be completely true in my case.

November and December have been busy! In November we had the stake conference, where the daily study of the Book of Mormon was emphasized again, and then I had the opportunity to participate in a creative Saturday for charity organized by the Love Bihor Association and the Oradea District of the church. I met some wonderful people there, and had a great time. Lots of wonderful things were created by members and non-members working side by side that were sold by Love Bihor at various Christmas events.

December has been great! It started with St. Nicholas visiting us at work with his reindeer. img_5446

We also decided to #lighttheworldatwork in the 8 languages our team supports.

img_5374

One Sunday the ward had a little Christmas activity. Our furnace is broken, so it was rather cold in the chapel that day, so we watched the First Presidency Christmas Devotional wrapped in blankets from Primary. We had a nice potluck lunch afterwards, and it was wonderful to socialize a bit with ward members. We really have some wonderful people!

After the ward activity the missionaries had a finding activity on Deák tér, one of the busiest parts of town. The theme, of course, was #lighttheworld #LégyAVilágVilágossága.

img_5487

Then the next weekend we had my niece and her Mama visit. We were originally planning to see a movie, but since Star Wars overtook the standard kid movie time slots, we skipped that. Instead we went to the two major Christmas markets, walked around, enjoyed a folk dance show, had real hot chocolate at Szamos, and just had fun.

Last week one of the wards had a very nice Christmas concert. Two of my friends, Ildi and Iaponira came to that, and following the concert we had some gyros at Iaponira’s home, joined by her husband. It had been quite a while since I had last seen Iaponira and Peter, and we had a lovely time, chatting, making a new “business plan”, and doing nails. I am really grateful for the wonderful friends in my life. My 8 years at EDS/HP/CPL gave me some wonderful people, and CC has been just as great!

img_0585

 

October 31

onebrick

October 31, 2017. It is the 500th anniversary of Luther nailing those 95 theses on a door. It is also the day when millions of children go knocking on doors. It’s also the last day of Write 31 Days. It was fun.

Halloween on Temple Square was serious business. We closed early, and each zone dressed up and presented a show in one of the theaters in the North Visitors Center. It was a blast. Then my previous company brought the Halloween spirit back into my life, and this year it continued with my current company.

I have to admit today was more fun than I expected, but it was also nice to climb into bed with my scriptures in the evening, and just listen to music and read.

Thanks for joining me for this adventure of Write 31 Days!

God’s Army and other Mormon Cinema

onebrick

I was on my mission when God’s Army came out. I didn’t get to see it till about a year later, when I could finally got a VHS copy. The next challenge was getting a VCR that played the American format. Gosh, I loved that film! Just as Testaments was a wonderful surprise in Church produced movies, God’s Army was a pleasant surprise for movie loving me.

Just recently I was watching it on YouTube, and someone commented that they didn’t understand why this movie was made, this is not going to convert anyone to the church. I don’t think they understood that God’s Army was not produced by the LDS Church. It was an independent movie, telling a story of LDS missionaries. It was made by mostly LDS people, but the actor playing one of the leads–and then again appeared in Brigham City–is Jewish.

God’s army was followed by a number of comedies and the previously mentioned Brigham City, and States of Grace, and then Richard Dutcher left the Church, and the independent Mormon cinema has been kind of… quiet. Or it just doesn’t reach us here. Of course there are a lot more media products available now, but I kind of miss those movies.

The Temple – part 2: The Building of the Salt Lake Temple

onebrick

One of the first LDS movies I’ve seen was Mountain of the Lord. It was the first LDS video I’ve seen that was not totally… churchy. It was enjoyable, interesting, and educational. I had known how long building the Salt Lake Temple took, but it was in this film that first introduced me to why it was that long. Later on serving on Temple Square it was something we often talked about. I love the story of the Temple, and the stories of the people who worked on building it. I think the only story I like more is how the Freiberg Germany Temple came to be built behind the iron curtain in East Germany.

 

My Missionary Scriptures

onebrick

As I mentioned in previous posts, my friend and I are kind of studying the Book of Mormon together, quite long distance. We are taking it slow and steady. I am also reading the scriptures by myself at random times and places, and I try to make an effort of doing some scripture journaling every few days, so I am at three different places in the scriptures simultaneously. To make it easier for me, I use three different copies for the three studies. At this point, I have to admit, that none of them is in Hungarian. I am still getting used to the “new” translation, and the comfort of familiarity only comes with the English copies. So in addition to having my journalized scriptures I use a pocket-sized Book of Mormon in my individual study. It is small, but it’s not a screen. I can carry it everywhere, and just mark it as needed.

I for the study with my friend, and usually for reading anything other than the Book of Mormon I use my missionary scriptures. It’s huge. It has everything. It is easy to read all the cross references, and it’s easy to have a Wikipedia-like experience when starting with a single verse in 2 Nephi one ends up three hours later somewhere in the Old Testament, via the Bible Dictionary, the Doctrine and Covenants, and thanks to a footnote, the New Testament as well.

img_5191

On this photo the book in the middle is the standard sized soft-cover copy of the Book of Mormon. I think it is quite evident why I don’t carry my missionary scriptures around much! I love them, though. I bought them a few months into my mission, and gifted my previous set to a friend. I hardly ever used the previous set, I used an individual copy of the Book of Mormon most of the time, but I really wanted a quad to make study more comfortable. It was made possible when a former missionary who had served in Hungary and had taught me invited my companion and I to dinner, and gifted us with some cash. So scriptures and a new-to-me pair of boots were purchased one P-day, and that quad became what I refer to as my missionary scriptures. It came with me to Anaheim, I used it the one time I was asked to give a talk, I used them for individual and companionship study, I used it to give the spiritual thought when it was my turn. So many memories are attached to this book. Over my years of not being active I still used it whenever I needed to turn to the scriptures for a story or a discussion, or even an online argument.

Using them again regularly has been fun. A lot of times reading my old notes and finding things that I thought was relevant to me 18 years ago brings back memories, and remind me of things that can be helpful in my life again. I love how all the new member enthusiasm shows through those comments! I love reading the scriptures, and I love how my Heavenly Father keeps guiding me as I study them.

The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ

onebrick

When I was on my mission one of the verses I really loved in the Book of Mormon was 2 Nephi 25:26.

3e254ab287c6249d273258bc7251c590

This was our lives as missionaries. All we did every day was to talk of Christ, to rejoice in Christ, to preach of Christ. We did it when we talked about the blessings of the Temple. We did it as we shared the pioneers’ stories. We did it when we bore our testimonies of His love, sacrifice, and triumph over death. At the flagpole, in the Tabernacle, at the Christus statue. As my friend Gabi said, it was easy to be good on Temple Square. It was easy, because our whole life was centered around Christ and serving Him.

We often recited this verse, and one day I decided to put it to a test when it came to the Book of Mormon. During my personal study the next two months I marked every time He is mentioned in the Book of Mormon.

img_5082

On Sunday when I opened my missionary scriptures in preparation of reading it together with a good friend, I was, again, surprised at all the red marks in the Book of Mormon, showing all the mentions of Christ. Considering that one of my favorite Bible books, Esther, doesn’t even mention God directly, the straightforward witness of the Book of Mormon prophets seems so simple and uncomplicated. Simple and uncomplicated are good, because that is something even I can understand.

As I said earlier, for me the greatest purpose of the Book of Mormon is to invite people to come unto Christ, to bear witness that Christ loves us, and is always ready to receive the faithful and repentant. The Book of Mormon is truly for our time, and the opportunity of learning from it is one of those things that our Heavenly Father has blessed us with in these latter days.

Scripture journaling on a budget

onebrick

The Book of Mormon, in English, is 531 pages long, not counting the Introduction and the testimony of witnesses. I have been planning to move from the million post-its in my BoM to a proper scripture journal. So many of my friends have beautiful wide margin Bibles they use for that, and a wide margin template of the BoM (and the rest of the standard works) is available to be printed as well. In English.

While I used to work at a company that also manufactured printers, and allowed us to print some materials for personal use, 531 pages would not have been reasonable there either. So I started to look at various copy shops, and printing at the cheapest place on the cheapest paper that many pages would have come to around HUF 5000. With a better quality of paper, even printing double sided, it would be close to twice as much. That I found a little bit too much. Not to mention, if I wanted to do it in Hungarian, then I didn’t even have the option to print wide margin scriptures!

So I decided to create my own scripture journal on a budget.

img_5078

I ordered two copies of The Book of Mormon, they were €1.15 each. Then I bought a pack of 120g copy paper for HUF 1890. That will leave me about 16 sheets short, but I use this type of paper for a lot of other things, I will be buying more anyway. Of course the D&C  will need some paper as well. I prefer this thicker, whiter paper than the regular 80 g because I usually use a fountain pen or other liquid ink containing pens. Currently I use a low acid ink, and it writes beautifully on this paper.

Because I’m clumsy I prefer to see where I’m glueing something, so I primarily use these colored glue sticks, but double-sided tape works for people who don’t need to reposition their pages several times.

I am generally against mutilation of books, but this time I had to.

img_5079

The reason why two copies of the BOM are needed, because I need a copy of both sides of the same sheet to be glued onto the A4 paper. The missionary editions in English have thicker paper than the triple combination, and the soft cover BOM normally starts to fall apart by itself anyway, so I went with that. I expected to need a craft knife to get the pages out – and I’ll definitely need that for the Hungarian journal that I expect to be making in about a year’s time – , but with using some gentle force on separating the binding from the sheets, I could remove the pages without having to cut.

Then I glued.

img_5080

As you can see, it is not straight, and the glueing didn’t result in a completely fat and glued page, but as I’m not the artist type who would create a beautiful artwork out of her scripture journal like seen on Pinterest, it works fine for me. If you are better at using glue, you’ll get better results. Maybe I should outsource the glueing to my 8-year-old niece.

Currently the already made pages are in a binder, waiting for me to start study again tonight, but eventually I plan to have them spiral bound. This way I can add more pages where needed to add more thoughts, lessons, relevant talks or articles, even pictures as I go. This way it truly becomes a journal.

Another thing I started to do is to use the same type of paper (see, I use this kind of paper for everything!) to print some General Conference talks. I shrink the talks down to 70%, leaving me space to take notes, write thoughts, doodle, and generally use those pages as scripture journals. It helps a lot when I prepare for 4th Sunday in  Relief Society during the week. A similar journal for Sunday School preparation, printing the passages to be read, is also something I have been planning to use next year.

Every time I read the scriptures I discover something new and exciting. It is time to keep those thoughts at least somewhat organized. Because I do love to read the Scriptures.

 

 

An invitation

Just now I finished reading the Book of Mormon again.

Two of my favorite verses are the two right before the very last one, Moroni 10:32-33.

As John Bytheway once said, “Come unto Christ” is the ultimate invitation. That is the is the greatest purpose of the Book of Mormon. That is the message we receive from our Heavenly Father via His prophets during General Conference. Everything comes down to this. Come unto Christ.