All Things Witness

Thoughts on the mission and power of Jesus Christ


2 Comments

That was beautiful. Can we do it again?

Twice a year, members of the church from the wider area where we live gather together for what we call ‘Stake Conference’. The conference is held over Saturday and Sunday, and I was asked to speak at the session held last night. I share it here in the hopes that it provides some hope and understanding for others.

***

Many years ago, I served my mission amongst the beautiful people of Chile. For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been thinking about a particular experience I had while I was there.

I was in a small town called Coihueco. And my companion and I were teaching a single mother and her daughter who I’ll call Juana, who was about 12 years old. They lived on the outskirts of the town in a small makeshift house of dirt floors. Continue reading


Leave a comment

Taking His Name

This is a post I’ve been meaning to write for a good long while, probably about 2 years. Originally, I was going to write it as we approached a General Conference of the Church – and I might still do that sometime – but for this article (and the next couple) I’m going to focus on the sacrament.

For those who have been following, this is the 11th article in my series on the sacrament of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I was going to discuss taking the name of Christ a bit later in the series, but the phrase is referenced in both of the sacrament prayers – twice in the first – and it’s worth thinking about throughout the ordinance.

Let’s look at the prayers again, this time focusing on where the name of Christ is referenced. Continue reading


Leave a comment

Of Becoming a Saint

This post continues my series on the Sacrament. And don’t worry, I’ll get to it. But there’s something important (and surprisingly relevant) I need to discuss first.

As you might know, I’m LDS. If you’re not LDS – or perhaps don’t even know what that means – you might know members of our church as Mormons.

When the church was newly organised back in the early to mid 19thcentury, the term Mormon was used first by enemies of the church and was considered derogatory. But over the years, the word became more widespread. Continue reading


2 Comments

The Weakness Which is in Me

Man sitting against a wallMy wife and I have to take it in turns to attend church on Sundays and this week it was my turn, which I always enjoy.

Being the first Sunday of the month, our congregational meeting was a bit different from normal in that any members of the congregation are permitted to walk to the pulpit and share their feelings of the Saviour and of His gospel. Today’s meeting was particularly enjoyable, and I came away feeling uplifted and with my own testimony of Christ strengthened.

During the meeting there was something our Bishop said that really chimed with some thoughts I’ve been having lately, and that was about limitations. He was talking about the balancing act he has to give between his family, his employment, and his calling as Bishop, and how it can be really hard to get right. This is especially true when one of these cranks the volume up and demands more attention. Continue reading


Leave a comment

Endowed with Power

The Sacrament is such a beautiful ordinance. In previous posts, I’ve already talked about how each element of it reminds us of Christ. In so many ways it draws us to Him. The bread, broken that we might eat; the water/wine, poured that we might drink. These things remind us of His body willingly broken, and His blood freely spilt, that we might be made whole.

Likewise the table, the cloth, the priests, and more, all remind us of Him and the grace He so fully offers us. The prayers themselves are no different, and offer us a far greater opportunity to ponder His wondrous sacrifice than perhaps we realise.

In the next couple of posts, I’ll be sharing my thoughts and feelings on that short phrase appearing early in both prayers, “to bless and sanctify”. Continue reading


Leave a comment

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.

Continue reading


2 Comments

My Psalm of Sadness

I don’t feel sad.

I don’t mean just at this moment – although I don’t feel sad at this moment. I don’t even mean in the last week or month. I simply don’t feel sad, well, ever.

The last time I remember feeling sad and crying was when I was 8 years old. I was living in Australia, and my big sister had just got married and left the country. I remember crying that night because Debbie had left me. My parents, brother and three other sisters were still around, but somehow my big sister leaving made me sad. That was 40 years ago.

I’ve had numerous events in my life since then that should have made me sad, of course. And when others learn of them they are often sad for me.

As I’ve spoken of before, I’ve suffered from pretty serious bouts of depression through the years too. But my depression isn’t sadness – it’s hollow (although discussion of that is for another day). I feel depression. I don’t feel sadness.

Now, you might be thinking that not being able to feel sad sounds great. No tears, no bursting of the chest, no… whatever you feel when you’re sad. But it isn’t. Because sadness is an important emotion that helps us process important events in our lives.

Continue reading


Leave a comment

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


Leave a comment

When God Hath Tried Me

I was asked to give a talk in our Stake General Priesthood meeting last night about how we can support those who suffer from depression. For those of you who know me, it is a topic close to my heart. Depression is something that I am unfortunately far too familiar with, but I have recently been discussing it much more in the hopes to provide both some degree of comfort for others who suffer, as well as a greater understanding for those who don’t.

Anyway, here is my talk, below. Because it is a talk to men who hold the Priesthood, there are references to Priesthood Quorums, and to Home Teachers (in the LDS church, Home Teachers are men who are asked visit individuals and families in the church to watch over and care for them), but the principles apply more broadly.

Whatever your own circumstance, I hope you find it helpful.

 

As the book of Job begins in the Old Testament, the writer tells us that Job was a, “perfect and upright [man], and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.” (Job 1:1) In addition to his righteousness, Job had also been blessed with great material possessions, making him “the greatest of all the men in the east.” (Job 1:3)

Within a short period of time, however, Job had lost everything. His herds had been stolen, his servants slain. His children had all died in tragic accidents and his property had been destroyed. And after all of this, his body then became covered, “with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown.” (Job 2:7)

When we speak of Job, we often refer to his continued faith despite his trials – certainly a lesson worth studying – but I would like to focus on a different aspect of Job’s experience. Continue reading


Leave a comment

They Did Kneel Down With The Church

Image © Copyright Intellectual Reserve, Inc

This post is part of my series about the LDS ordinance of the sacrament. In my previous posts I’ve discussed the table, the cloth covering and the Priests. For those articles, as well as to see what else I’m currently expecting to write in the series, go here.

When Jesus introduced the sacrament amongst His Jerusalem apostles, Matthew tells us that He “blessed” and “gave thanks” for the bread and wine. He then offered it to His disciples. (Matthew 26:26-27) A single blessing or thanks, one for the bread and another for the wine, and then each of the men with Him partook of it.

If you stop and think about it, that’s really interesting, because it is so unusual. Most other LDS ordinances are very much one to one. Baptism: a single prayer for a single person. Confirmation: a single prayer for a single person. Priesthood ordinations: a single prayer for a single person. Etc. We have many communal worship experiences. Not so, with ordinances.*

Indeed, for the sacrament, it seems that the communal experience is an integral part of the ordinance. Moroni tells us that those ministering the Sacrament, “…did kneel down with the church, and pray to the Father in the name of Christ…” (Moroni 4:2, emphasis added. See also D&C 20:76)

The question we must ask ourselves is therefore why the communal experience is so important. Continue reading