All Things Witness

Thoughts on the mission and power of Jesus Christ


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A Man of Sorrows

In my last post, I talked about sadness – and my own lack thereof – and how it is a necessary part of our life, ultimately allowing us to receive a greater happiness.

I thought at the time that it was a distinct topic from my series on the sacrament (you can read the posts in that series here). But as I sat in church today listening to the sacrament prayers, I realised that wasn’t the case. Obviously, all gospel topics are inter-related in some ways, but this was more so than I had imagined.

To bless and sanctify. Bread and Water. Emblems of His death and suffering. To our souls. Hmm.

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Two Prayers

When I started this series about the LDS ordinance of the sacrament, I thought it would take me two posts to cover the sacrament prayer. As I sat down to dissect the prayers into areas I wanted to cover, however, I realised that it was going to take longer than that. So this is the first of, well, several short articles about the sacrament prayers themselves. If you want to see a list of all of the topics on the sacrament covered so far, go here.

As I’ve said before, the prayer on the sacrament must be word perfect. Any mistake must be remedied, and the Priest will repeat the prayer until every word spoken is correct. I love the symbolism of that.

Yes, we are commanded to be perfect even as the resurrected Christ, or His Father in Heaven, are perfect (3 Nephi 12:48). But we can’t actually achieve that. Not any of us. We all make mistakes and transgress the laws the Lord has given us.

But that’s okay. Because of the atonement of Christ, the emblems of which are displayed on the sacrament table, we can all partake of His grace, repent, and start again. No matter how many times we’ve failed, we can try again. Thus, even with our imperfections, we can keep this commandment by being “perfect in Christ” (Moroni 10:33).

Indeed, we can only obey this commandment to be perfect through our Saviour and Redeemer, and the requirement for perfection in the prayers on the sacrament is a beautiful metaphor for that. Continue reading


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A White Covering

This is a continuation of my series of posts discussing the ordinance of the sacrament within the LDS faith. The first post, Remembering Him, is here.

Image © 2015, Intellectual Reserve, Inc

Image © 2015, Intellectual Reserve, Inc

In my last post, Our Modern Altars, I talked about the table upon which the bread and water of the sacrament is placed. A table which serves as a modern altar for us. Today I’m going to discuss the cloth covering the same bread and water.

I started preparing this post thinking that one would be enough to talk about the significance and symbolism of the sacrament cloth, but it has developed so much I’ll need to take two. So this is part 1.

Indeed, there is so much to ponder when considering the sacrament cloth it’s difficult to know where to start. So perhaps it’s best to start with the Church handbook.

“Sacrament tablecloths should be white, nontransparent, clean, and pressed.” (Handbook 2, Administering the Church, 20.4.2)

It would be easy to read this sentence and think that only the colour of the cloth is symbolic, white being the symbolic colour of purity; the other requirements being primarily signs of respect. And while having a clean and pressed cloth certainly does show respect, there is more to it than that. Continue reading


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Depression and Church service.

© Copyright Intellectual Reserve, Inc. Christ taught the importance of both faith and works

© Copyright Intellectual Reserve, Inc.
Christ taught the importance of both faith and works

I was very blessed to have been born into a Christian family. My parents never wavered in their testimonies or Church attendance, and I grew up learning from them the importance of it.

I’m not sure at what point I began to understand the difference between the Church and the gospel – the earthly (though divinely mandate and approved) organisation through which gospel ordinances are performed in our day, versus the eternal principles by which our future happiness is governed.

At some point I did, though. And at about the same time, I also began to notice other principles we often conflate within the Church. Believing versus faith. Doing versus becoming. Reading  – or even studying – versus feasting.

Whichever set of words you look at, they’re both necessary: essential even. But our ultimate aim is always the second. We strengthen our belief until it grows into faith. We study the scriptures until we come to a point where we love them: our soul “hungers”, as Enos put it, and we desire to feast (see Enos 1:4). We do the things the Lord commands until we become a people who would naturally choose those things anyway – even without commandments, and without thinking about it.

It wasn’t until my darkest time of despair, however, that I realised my understanding of these things was intellectual only, a mere grasp of the theory. Continue reading


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Yearning for Heaven

armsOver the years, I’ve learned loads of things at Church. In my adult years, though – like many life-long members of the LDS Church I’m sure – very little has come from the actual words spoken in meetings and lessons. Because those who speak to, or teach us, in Church have to cater for a wide range of gospel understanding, our lessons and sermons tend to be fairly basic in content; with lessons getting recycled every four years.

I still enjoy them, though, for a couple of reasons. First, on odd occasions I’m able to make a contribution to a topic which I hope others find helpful (certainly others make contributions which I find helpful). Second – and relevant for this post – the things I learn are most often from words that are not audible. They are from the words and feelings that come directly into my mind.

That was the case today. The sermons in our main worship meeting were on the subject of prayer and while what the speakers had to say was good, there was something else I learned on the subject; something they didn’t talk about. A phrase came directly to my mind which cause me to ponder quite deeply; to examine myself and my approach to prayer. It is something which will change the way I approach my Heavenly Father when I kneel before him in my solitude. It affects the power of my prayers. Continue reading


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The Holy Ghost and Depression

Sunlight on green fieldsThis post is a little more rambling than usual, so I apologise for that. Hopefully I’ll still be able to make the point I want to.

I often think that when we get to the next life and see things as they really are; when the scales of our mortal blindness fall from our eyes, that we will be surprised with both how much simpler things were than we thought, as well as how much more complex. If that sounds contradictory, let me explain.

We spend our lives running to and fro. We have gadgets that improve our efficiency, but the result is we feel pressure to get ever more done. Our children must be in after-school clubs. We must be available for our employers 24/7. Work is increasingly demanding, while so are the requirements to fit society’s standards of good parenting. And then we add church responsibilities, social activities, and so on, and so on. We spend so much time and effort on these things when our main purpose in life is really the much simpler “Come, follow me.” Not easy, for sure, but simple. I’m sure that when I kneel at a future day before my Saviour and look back at my mortal journey I will say some variation of “Oops”, as I recognise how much time and stress I wasted on things that really didn’t matter. Continue reading


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We Are All the Lost Sheep

We are theThankfully the days of Teletubbies are long behind us.  There was a time when I would wonder whether Tinky Winky or Po was my favourite; when I would hum the theme tune.  Somehow, that sort of insanity is the only way to remain sane through those years (although some would argue I didn’t stay sane – if I ever was to start with…).

Many of the escapades of the four coloured friends are now (thankfully) long forgotten; buried deep within whatever part of my brain that seeks to hide such things.  But there is one that I have always remembered.  It is where Little Bo Beep comes along, singing with a high-pitched male falsetto searching for her lost charges.  Then materialising from clouds are her wandering flock, singing in their deep bass tones, “We are the sheep”.

It was… surreal; and is perhaps the only time watching children’s television where I wondered whether the producers had hired Monty Python to work as consultants.  For some strange reason, our family was reminded of this scene in the last week.  Sheep seem to have been on my mind lately…. Continue reading


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Pleading

Image from Flickr, by hjukkhj

Image from Flickr, by hjukkhj

Life is hard – really hard.

We all have times in our live when we feel that we are alone.  We may not lose faith that He lives – or that He cares for others; but we lose hope that He cares for us.  Others may be important; just not me.  Such feelings may be fleeting; or they may endure for hours, days, weeks, months, or even years.

It was during a time when I was contemplating this, that I wrote the following.   Continue reading


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An Apostle Testifies

Under the glance of His all-seeing eye,-2

As we approach the general sessions of another General Conference of the LDS Church next weekend, I reflect on my favourite quote from the last conference in April.  This one from Elder D Todd Christofferson.  His whole talk was a beautiful testimony of Christ, and I select below, just a portion.

 

“The Savior is not dependent on food or water or oxygen or any other substance or power or person for life. Both as Jehovah and Messiah, He is the great I Am, the self-existing God. He simply is and ever will be.

By His Atonement and Resurrection, Jesus Christ has overcome all aspects of the Fall. Physical death will be temporary, and even spiritual death has an end, in that all come back into the presence of God, at least temporarily, to be judged. We can have ultimate trust and confidence in His power to overcome all else and grant us everlasting life….

[T]he Savior makes all things right. No injustice in mortality is permanent, even death, for He restores life again. No injury, disability, betrayal, or abuse goes uncompensated in the end because of His ultimate justice and mercy…. Continue reading


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Sacramental Altar

Many Christian religions have rituals that remind us of Christ: His life, teachings and atonement.  Within the LDS Church, one of these is the Sacrament – a weekly partaking of bread and water, following the pattern of the Last Supper when He gave bread and wine to His disciples instructing them to remember Him.  In other Christian religions a similar ritual may occur, perhaps called Holy Communion, or something similar.  The Sacrament takes on such an important meaning for us that our main Sunday worship meeting is called “Sacrament Meeting”.

For many years, with a constant stream of small children on laps, at feet, and generally requiring attention, concentrating on the meaning and importance of the Sacrament during our Sunday worship meetings was something of an impossibility.  But now they are older, it can once again (usually) have the attention it deserves.

Sacramental Altar

An altar of wood,
Adorned with emblems
Clothed in white

Tokens of a sacrifice
Made long ago
And made anew

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