Tuesday, December 27, 2011

"Behold, your sins are forgiven you..."

"Behold, your sins are forgiven you..." -D&C 110:5

There are a number of times in the scriptures when a phrase such as this can be found. This particular one is found in the midst of a great vision had by the prophet Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in the Kirtland temple in April of 1836. Many others in scriptural history, however, have also received such promises. Enos is a second example of being told he has been forgiven of all his sins.

For whatever reason, I'm always amazed when I read such a saying. To think that an individual is forgiven of all their sins?! That's incredible!

This morning as I read this, however, I had a simple but powerful realization. I have the same opportunity to be forgiven in this way each week when I prepare for and partake of the sacrament. The power of the Atonement can have the same effect in our lives as it does in the lives of those in the scriptures if we will but partake of the sacrament having done all we can to repent. What a tremendous promise to us! What more motivation do we need to attend Church each week??

Monday, October 3, 2011

A New Favorite Scripture

"Nevertheless they did fast and pray oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their humility and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling their souls with joy and consolation, yea, even to the purifying and the sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their yielding their hearts unto God." -Helaman 3:35

Tonight as I read this (and I've read it many times before) it just hit me how important this is!

What do you do? Fast and pray oft.
What happens as a result? You wax stronger in humility and firmer in faith, are filled with joy and consolation, and your heart is purified and sanctified.

WHOA!!

Do you realize the magnitude of these blessings?!

When do we not need humility? Humility gives us the ability to accept the Lord's will and timing for our lives. Through humility, we receive more of His Spirit which in turn brings peace, joy, love, and all of the other qualities of the Savior. Through humility, we can be taught by the Lord and learn the direction that our lives need to take. If we waxing in humility, we are waning in pride and thus overcoming "the natural man."

Not to mention faith! Faith is the first principle of the gospel! Its upon this that everything else is built! Greater faith leads to greater obedience! It will lead to and allow more miracles into our lives! Faith will dispel our fears and give us strength in challenging times! Our faith in Christ will help shape us into the men & women God would have us to become.

Want more joy and consolation (comfort) in your life?! Here's the way! Are we not here on earth to have joy and to enable ourselves to later have eternal joy?! (2 Nephi 2:25) I know I don't need to sell anybody on this one.

The last: purification and sanctification; becoming clean and being made holy. To return to the presence of God, it is imperative that we be clean. The scriptures teach that "no unclean thing can enter into his kingdom" (3 Nephi 27:19). In other words, these things are ESSENTIAL.

And what's it cost?!

Fast and pray oft. Isn't it simple?? Time to recommit and to these simple, but profoundly important principles!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Joseph Smith, God's Student


The following was written to be posted on the blog of the Education in Zion website. Education in Zion is a gallery on BYU campus dedicated to church and BYU history. Its intended audience is BYU students but the principles apply to all.        
    
           The title above is that of one of the first displays in our gallery and has been quite intriguing to me. What an honor to be referred to as “God’s Student!” What qualified him to be given this title? Joseph’s learning came through a pattern of study, experience, and revelation. As we gain our education in this same way, we too can be God’s students.
            Joseph’s example of study was an incredible one. When he had questions, he did all he could to find the answers! When confronted with the realization that he knew not which church to join, he sought for answers by studying the scriptures, talking to his parents and family, attending various church services, and asking questions of the ministers and church leaders he met. Much of our learning will come in the same way. In fact, it often feels like that this is the only way we are to learn while here at BYU. We spend hours studying, memorizing, and doing all we can to learn and understand the material we will be tested on. While this is an important part of the learning process, it is only that: a part.
            To truly be God’s student, our learning must come in more ways than this. Upon studying and doing all we can, we will be given experiences that further our growth. This was certainly the case with Joseph. In the midst of his trials at liberty jail, the Lord told him that “all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good” (D&C 122:7). Like him, there is much to be gained through our experiences at BYU. We too will have challenges and opportunities for the Lord to teach us. It is our responsibility to recognize these lessons.
            Lastly, we can be God’s students as we receive personal revelation. It goes without saying that Joseph learned largely in this way. We too, as we seek to be worthy and invite the Spirit into our lives, will be taught by revelation. The promptings we receive will put the things we are learning into perspective and help us see their relevance and application. I had such an experience recently as I read my American Heritage textbook. As I was reading about the tools the founders of our nation used in creating our government, I realized that these same principles ought to be used when founding and forming our families! My perspective of the things I’m learning in the class has now changed because of a simple prompting from the Spirit.
            May we always remember the way the Prophet Joseph was taught and always seek to learn in this way: through study, experience, and revelation.
-Kirk Perry, Education in Zion Gallery Educator

Monday, August 22, 2011

Why Chastity?


In church yesterday, we had the greatest lesson on the Law of Chastity! It's difficult to try an sum up something so important and powerful in my own words but I'll sure try! My intent, however, isn't to summarize the commandment itself but rather to share some of the new thoughts I had about it.

1. The breaking of the Law of Chastity has consequences both before and after marriage.
I think too often we fail to remember the effects of our decisions to disobey God's commandments. When we break the law of chastity, we naturally begin to view others differently. We begin seeing others as objects of lust rather than pure and holy sons and daughters of God. The sacredness of relationships that should only be had after marriage is defiled.

The consequences, however, aren't all negative! We are blessed with greater trust in our relationships. We experience and feel a greater measure of the Spirit because we are pure and clean. We allow ourselves to give fully to our spouse (or future spouse)! We will find joy :)

2. The breaking of Law of Chastity is one of the most serious sins!
This is made pretty clear by Alma in Alma 39:3-5:
And this is not all, my son. Thou didst do that which was grievous unto me; for thou didst forske the ministry, and did go over into the land of Siron among the borders of the Lamanites, after the harlot Isabel. Yeah, she did steal away the hearts of many; but this was no excuse for thee, my son. Thou shouldst have tended to the ministry wherewith thou was entrusted. Know ye not, my son, that these things are an abomination in the sight of the Lord; yea, most abominable above all sins save it be the shedding of innocent blood or denying the Holy Ghost?


Elder Holland, reiterates how serious the violation of this commandment is in his talk "Of Souls, Symbols, and Sacraments:"

So partly in answer to why such seriousness, we answer that one toying with the God-given--and satanically coveted--body of another, toys with the very soul of that individual, toys with the central purpose and product of life, "the very key" to life, as Elder Boyd K. Packer once called it. In trivializing the soul of another (please include the word body there), we trivialize the Atonement that saved that soul and guaranteed its continued existence. And when one toys with the Son of Righteousness, the Day Star himself, one toys with white heat and a flame hotter and holier than the noonday sun. You cannot do so and not be burned. You cannot with impunity "crucify Christ afresh" (see Hebrews 6:6). Exploitation of the body (please include the word soul there) is, in the last analysis, an exploitation of him who is the Light and the Life of the world.

3. Keeping the Law of Chastity is essential to our eternal progression.
One of the members of the stake presidency noted 3 main things we learn by keeping this commandment: respect, selflessness, and self-control. These qualities are essential in fulfilling our potential as children of God to become like him! He perfectly demonstrates these qualities and has given us this law because he loves us and wants us to progress and inherit eternal joy.

The reasons for keeping the law of chastity are endless. It is of serious importance.

In 1972, Harold B Lee taught that "Satan's greatest threat today is to destroy the family and to make a mockery of the law of chastity and the sanctity of the marriage covenant." I believe this counsel still applies because of the eternal nature and importance of the law of chastity.

An important point to remember is that the Savior has already suffered for our sins! We can repent! We can be forgiven! We can be clean! I know this to be true! He has provided a way for us to overcome our sins, habits, guilt, shame, and all other negative things!

May we all seek to more fully keep this sacred law!

Monday, August 15, 2011

To My Audience

More than anything else I know, I know the gospel of Jesus Christ as taught by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints to be true. I know that there are great blessings available to those who seek to live by and follow these teachings!

This blog is intended for other members of the Church to read. We have made covenants and promises with God to live a certain way. My posts are aimed at inspiring and encouraging you to do so!

Because this is the premise of this blog, I speak in a way that may not make sense to those who are less familiar with the Church and its teachings. I am, however, happy to answer any questions about the Church and gospel of Jesus Christ via email at kirkfperry@gmail.com. There are also other websites with more basic information such as mormon.org and lds.org.

SO, to my intended audience:

May this blog give you faith as I share both personal experiences and my feelings about the teachings of the gospel. Its my hope that you'll take the time to read these posts and feel an increase of your faith in Christ and commitment to live by His teachings.

Friday, August 12, 2011

After the Trial of your Faith

Wow. This summer has certainly been a surprise to me. I naively thought that coming home from a mission was going to be a cake walk; as if the Lord somehow owed it to me for serving a mission. (I'd forgotten King Benjamin's words: "Are we not all beggars?" Mosiah 4:19)

The big trial of this summer has been the job hunt. I lost my first job, the second didn't work out the way I'd hoped, and the third was only temporary because of its hours. Let's not mention the countless applications I filled out and the numerous interviews I had. Time after time I got my hopes up and was let down after not receiving the position I'd applied for.

And now FINALLY I've gotten a job at the Education in Zion gallery at the JFSB on BYU campus and couldn't be happier. The hours, pay, longevity, and environment are all ideal. What a tremendous blessing!

I think all of our trials are this way though. Is the night not darkest just before the sunrise? Don't we need the character building that comes through disappointment, grief, and pain? Do not these things turn our hearts to the Lord?

I must admit, there have been plenty of times I've doubted. I've had times where I've wondered why I haven't received certain blessings when I've tried so hard to be faithful.

Sometimes we just need to wait.

To those of you who are in the midst of your own trials: ENDURE ENDURE ENDURE. The blessings will ALWAYS follow after the trial of your faith.

 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Modest is Hottest


Yes, this is a corney phrase and doesn't quite capture the seriousness of this topic.

Ah... modesty....

Any of you who went through the Young Women's program have talked about this countless times,

but I want to give a guy's perspective to modesty!

How modest a girl dresses tells a lot about her level of spirituality and conversion to the gospel of Jesus Christ! The second I see a girl dressed immodestly, I know that there's something that she doesn't completely understand:

1. She doesn't understand her divine worth as a daughter of God. She is seeking the praise and attention of man rather than the praise and attention of her Heavenly Father.

2. She doesn't understand (or appreciate) the Atonement of Jesus Christ. If she did, and if she recognized that Christ suffered for her lack of clothing, she'd repent and dress modestly!

3. She doesn't understand the principle that her body is a temple. She forgets that it is a gift with a commandment to dress it and use it appropriately. She fails to remember that she will be held accountable for what she does with/to her body.

4. She doesn't understand the effect this has on other boys. Particularly her brothers!
This is where I want to give some attention:

These are my sisters! I love them and they are an incredible example to me! How grateful I am that they've always dressed so modestly. As a boy, my views of girls are filtered by the things I've perceived about my mom and sisters. Even at home, my sisters dressed modestly! Rather than short shorts, they wore pajama pants. Rather than tank tops, they wore t-shirts. They were ALWAYS modest!

I've imagined what it would've been like if they were immodest. I likely would've viewed this as normal and in turn viewed other, immodest girls, as normal. I would have been desensitized and seen women differently.

Because of their modesty, however, I appreciate it! I find myself sensitive to girls that dress immodestly and am quickly disinterested.

I said earlier that immodest girls don't understand the points above. Its one thing to know something and another thing to understand  it.

President Boyd K Packer taught that "true doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behavior..." If these points were truly understood you'd dress modestly.

Thank you to all you wonderful women who DO dress modestly! Continue being the wonderful example that you are and always know how pleased your Heavenly Father is with you!

(Note that I often use the word "girl" when referring to immodesty and "woman" when referring to modesty. Your level of modesty is a direct reflection of your maturity.)

Seeking to inspire change,

Kirk

Friday, August 5, 2011

Tips for Temple Attendance

Courtesy of Kevin Miller Photography

Now many of us are familiar with the old primary song, "I Love to See the Temple!"
But do we love going to it as much as we like looking at it??

Let's consider some of the keys to temple attendance:

1. Go OFTEN!
How often will be different for all of us. Some of us live significantly closer to a temple than do others. Some of us are much busier with school, work, or family activities. As we set goals to go on a regular basis, however, we will be more likely to go frequently.
Prior to my mission, I was encouraged by my Stake President to go 2-3 times weekly as preparation. What this meant was that I went about 35 times before leaving for Philadelphia! What a rich experience this was! The frequency of my visits brought a Spirit into my life that helped me to more fully remember the Savior and strive consistently to follow Him. This was something that I greatly missed for two years.

Upon returning home, this same Stake President challenged me to go DAILY for the first two weeks I was home! 12 times in 14 days! How grateful I am for this challenge! The temple is truly the Lord's house and His presence is readily felt there!

2. Spiritually Prepare
This too will be different for different people. What I try to do is go to the temple with questions. Sometimes I'm seeking answers to personal questions/problems. Sometimes I'm looking for doctrinal insight and deeper meaning of particular scriptures etc. Rarely do I leave without answers! Its incredible! Take the time to sit and wait! Don't schedule activities so soon afterwards that you're needing to rush out. Block out some time to stay!
Other ways to spiritually prepare could include studying the doctrine of temples (or the doctrines taught in the temple) during your personal scripture study. Your temple experience doesn't only have to happen in the temple.
3. Physically Prepare
Again, different for everybody. For me, because I'm spoiled, I don't have to plan really far in advance so I can go to the temple because its so close! For you, it may be more of a sacrifice. It may take finding a babysitter or sacrificing other activities.
For me, physically preparing means getting enough sleep the night before so I'll be able to stay awake at the temple and soak in all that's available! Whatever you need to do, do it!
4. Invite Others
 Bring people with you! This will not only ensure that you go but you'll be blessing others!
Great blessings can be had as we attend the temple! I KNOW that to be true!
See also President Monson's April 2011 conference talk on temples:

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Welcome Home

This will show the surprise visit of a father to his son after coming home from active duty in the military. If you are a sensitive person, I suggest grabbing a tissue.

This video afforded me the wonderful opportunity to ponder on the reunion we will one day have with our Father in Heaven. What a short clip of pure happiness :)

Future Blogs

Blogs to Come:

"When you find your best friend, marry her!"

A few of my favorite things

Lessons Learned from Marathon Training

Learning about yourself through prayer

The Law of Chastity - A Principle of Becoming

The Value of Clean Language

...

More ideas/requests?

Friday, July 29, 2011

X's & Y's

I learned a lot about myself today in my psychology class through a short experiment entitled "X's and Y's."

Dr. Miller started by passing out 10 notecards to 10 of us at random. I was one of these 10. He then explained that we were going to play a game...

Each of us were to write either an X or a Y on the notecard and hand it in. For every Y, everyone would get "$100". However, if you were to write an X, you would get "$100" for every Y as well as an extra "$300."

Hmm... Think that through for a minute...What would you pick?...

What if you choose X and everyone else does as well? Then you're not going to make much money....Unless everyone else were to choose Y....

If you picked an X, you are guaranteed to make as much or more than everybody else.

However, if you picked a Y, you may not necessarily make as much as everyone else, but you would be helping everyone else to make more.

Did you decide to look only at yourself and how much YOU could make? Or was your choice based on what would most benefit the group?

I think there's a lot to be learned about yourself from your choice...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

In the Business of Preparing

It seems to me that the Lord is in the business of preparing us for things to come. 3 examples in my own life:

1. On my mission, each companion/area of mine was given to me for a reason. From them, I learned valuable lessons that gave me a great advantage later on. For example: I served with a missionary that I didn't get along with as easily as my previous companions. I tried hard to foster a relationship and to build a friendship but my efforts seemed to be in vain. This was a difficult 6 weeks for me BUT it taught me how to love unconditionally. I learned that I could love a person without being loved back. I could serve someone without expecting it returned to me. How grateful I was for the next 17 months to use this skill! This is a true attribute of Jesus Christ that I began learning from this companion.


2. Marriage plays a vital role in God's plan for our happiness. Although I don't believe that there is a one and only "soul-mate" that we are intended to find, I do believe that there are individuals with whom we are more compatible and have the opportunity of being happier with. Each relationship I've been in has taught me something about what to look for in a future wife. The Lord has prepared me through them and helped me understand the importance of things such as reciprocity, commitment to the gospel, and similarity in interests/goals.

3. Understanding that the Lord works in this way and prepares us for things to come, I've often wondered why it is that I've been struggling so much financially this summer. Its caused me to prioritize and identify what things are needs and what things are merely wants. I'm finding that I'm much less worried about comparing what I have to what others have and its really helping me to grow! These lessons will have wide applicability throughout my life but I've recognized one thing in particular: As a parent it will be of much greater importance to take care of the temporal needs of my children than to try and "Compete with the Jones.'" And I might as well get used to being poor if I actually have as many kids as I've always joked around about having! (10)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Always Learning

Example is often the most powerful teacher. I just witnessed an example of a man who hasn't stopped learning. Let me share it:

This man is quite accomplished. He is very talented and has experience in many fields. I believe he was a professor for many years, he serves faithfully in his church responsibilities, and has traveled the world over. As I sat in the lobby of a building on BYU campus, he came strolling through. My first thought was that he must have just finished teaching a class. He informed me, however, that he'd just completed a midterm exam. Wait, what? I went on to ask him what class he was taking and learned that he's taking an ancient Hebrew class that requires 4 hrs a day of time in class and probably more outside of it. This isn't required for any kind of degree that he's working toward or anything. In fact, he's not even enrolled! He's auditing the class! He simply wants to learn and is loving learning the language of the ancient scriptures. What an incredible example of one who never ceases to learn.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

My Top 10 Keys to Mission Success

1. Personally come unto Christ in every way.  Your doing so will be an example to others and strengthen your ability to invite them to do so.

2. Let "Our Purpose" motivate everything you do.  Internalize it.  Let it truly become YOUR purpose and be a driving force.  3 Nephi 11

3. Be exactly obedient.  Not 90%, but 100%.  Humble yourself and submit to every rule, big or small.

4. Always strive for companionship unity.  Love your current companion fully.  Serve him. Really get to know him. Build Zion together.  It will affect every phase of the work.  Be naked! (Fully open with each other)

5. Work with and through the members. Don't, however, view them as tools.  Seek to develop lifelong friendships with them.  Truly become friends.

6. Use the Book of Mormon!  The more you use it, the more success you’ll have.  It has been prepared by the Lord to find and convert the honest seekers of truth (yourself included).

7. Talk to everyone!

8. Have effective personal & companionship studies. Study PMG and BOM daily.  This is huge in preparing to teach as well as for personal conversion.

9. Focus on the positive.

10. Develop and be fueled by charity. Love the people, the mission, and the Lord.