My name is Elder Kyle Rasmussen. I'm a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The message of the Church is one of joy and happiness. This message has given me this great joy and happiness in my life and now I want to share that same joy with everyone else. I know it can bless everyone's life and that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Cradle of the Restoration Part 2 - The Joseph Smith Farm (Log Home)

Joseph Smith Farm
The second historical site that is of significance to the Church is the family farm of Joseph Smith Sr.  Here is where Joseph Smith Jr. spent most of his childhood.  It was on the property of this farm that the Restoration of Christ's Church through the Prophet Joseph Smith began to unfold.  The Farm is located at 843 Stafford Road Palmyra, New York.  Here on the farm is where the Sacred Grove resides, the Smith Log Home, and the Smith Frame Home.  Many significant events of the Restoration occurred on this 100 acre property.

Log Home of Smith Family
 Log Home

In 1818 the Smith family moved into the Log Home on their property, one of the first structures to be built on the farm.  The entire family lived in this small home which consisted of Joseph Smith Senior, his wife Lucy Mack Smith, and their eight children which included Hyrum and Joseph Junior.  It was here on the night of September 21st, 1823, Joseph Smith Junior was awoken that night by a spectacular vision.

Upstairs Bedroom of Log Home
Vision of Angel Moroni

It had been 3 years after Joseph Smith's first vision and he hadn't received any guidance, revelation, or direction on what to do since that day.  That night Joseph decided to pray to God to repent of his mistakes and see what God wanted him to do next.  While he was praying, a bright light filled the room, getting brighter and brighter till he says "until the room was brighter than at noonday".  A personage came to his bedside, standing in the air, dressed in a white robe with the "most exquisite whiteness.  It was a whiteness beyond anything earthly I had ever seen;"

The Angel Moroni appearing to Joseph Smith
In Joseph Smith Jr's own words, he says "He called me by name, and said unto me that he was a messenger sent from the presence of God to me, and that his name was Moroni; that God had a work for me to do; and that my name should be had for good and evil among all nations, kindreds, and tongues, or that it should be both good and evil spoken of among all people.  He said there was a book deposited, written upon gold plates, giving an account of the former inhabitants of this continent, and the source from whence they sprang.  He also said that the fullness of the everlasting Gospel was contained in it, as delivered by the Savior to the ancient inhabitants;"

The Angel Moroni delivered this message three separate times that night, and once more the following morning while Joseph Smith Jr started working in the fields that day.  Each and every time, the Angel Moroni delivered the same message, adding on it with new insights from Biblical scripture and further counsel and direction.  From their Joseph Smith Jr. went to the directed place at the Hill Cumorah near his father's farm, and uncovered the gold plates which Moroni told him of that night.  The story of the Hill Cumorah and plates will be told later.

Many years have passed since this vision occurred, and many events have followed since this all happened.  Because of Joseph Smith, we now have the Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ, which was translated by Joseph Smith through the power of God from the gold plates.  It's a far fetched story, believe me, but I've come to know it's true.  I've taken Moroni's challenge to read and pray about the Book of Mormon, and you know what?  I've received an answer from God that it is true.  The book has blessed my life so much I can't even describe.  I hope all of you take a chance to read the Book of Mormon sincerely, that you might come closer to the Savior and be healed by Him through His words which are in it.  I know it all to be true.

Joseph Smith Farm : 843 Stafford Road
Palmyra, New York 14522

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Cradle of the Restoration Part 1 - The Sacred Grove

As a missionary serving in Western New York, those I have the amazing opportunity to teach and serve have something special just around the corner.  Very few people in the world actually get to set foot in the places where The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints first began.  The towns of Palmyra, Fayette, and the nearby surround areas are commonly known among Church members as The Cradle of the Restoration.  Amazing stuff happened in these places.  This is where it all began, where the Lord's true Church and Gospel where restored to the earth by living prophets.  Those living and serving in Western New York have such a unique opportunity to actually visit these places and feel how sacred they really are.  I would like to share with you brief descriptions of these places and what happened there.  This is how it all transpired.

The Sacred Grove
The Sacred Grove

While growing up, young Joseph Smith was very concerned about which church he should join.  He had been taught to love God and Jesus Christ all his life by his parents and wanted to do what was right.  But so many different religions where out there, preaching many different things.  Some said they were right, some said others weren't right.  Joseph was very confused at what he should do.  Then he stumbled upon a verse in the Bible that touched him in such a way that he had never felt before.  It read "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, which giveth to all men liberally and upradeith not; and it shall be given him." (James 1:5)

The Sacred Grove
So one day in the spring of 1820, Joseph Smith at the age of 14 decided to do just what he felt he should do, go and ask God personally.  So one morning he went into a grove of trees next to his father's farm and his family's cabin to do this.  In Joseph Smith's own words, this is what happened.

After I had retired to the place where I had previously designed to go, having looked around me, and finding myself alone, I kneeled down and began to offer up the desires of my heart to God. I had scarcely done so, when immediately I was seized upon by some power which entirely overcame me, and had such an astonishing influence over me as to bind my tongue so that I could not speak. Thick darkness gathered around me, and it seemed to me for a time as if I were doomed to sudden destruction.

 But, exerting all my powers to call upon God to deliver me out of the power of this enemy which had seized upon me, and at the very moment when I was ready to sink into despair and abandon myself to destruction—not to an imaginary ruin, but to the power of some actual being from the unseen world, who had such marvelous power as I had never before felt in any being—just at this moment of great alarm, I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me.

 It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound. When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!

 My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join. No sooner, therefore, did I get possession of myself, so as to be able to speak, than I asked the Personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right (for at this time it had never entered into my heart that all were wrong)—and which I should join.

 I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: “they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.”

 He again forbade me to join with any of them; and many other things did he say unto me, which I cannot write at this time. When I came to myself again, I found myself lying on my back, looking up into heaven. When the light had departed, I had no strength; but soon recovering in some degree, I went home. And as I leaned up to the fireplace, mother inquired what the matter was. I replied, “Never mind, all is well—I am well enough off.” I then said to my mother, “I have learned for myself - Joseph Smith History verses 15-20

Picture I took in the Sacred Grove
I've had the special chance to be in the Sacred Grove, on more than one occasion.  I've seen it in the middle of summer, the days of fall, the end of winter, and now the middle of spring.  Each and every time I feel something special and powerful.  I feel the Spirit witnessing to me that what Joseph Smith said happened in these woods is true, that the Father and His Son appeared to a simple fourteen year old farm boy.  I know that this is all true.  I hope everybody gets a chance to come here and feel for themselves how sacred the Sacred Grove really is.

Here's the address for the historical site and phone number:
843 Stafford Road
Palmyra, New York 14522
315-597-4383 (Main)

Summer: 9:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m. Winter: 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Pray, He can Hear You!

So things don't look so good.  Life's throwing you a curve ball.  It's hard right now.  Whenever I struggle with things I usually go to somebody for help.  That person is usually either one of my parents.  I love my dad and my mom.  They know me better than anybody else.  They have been through things like this before..  They love me more than I can imagine.  When I need help I always try and seek their aid.  But as a missionary right now, I can't always just call them up and tell them what's up.  As missionaries we live by very specific rules and guidelines to help us focus on the work we perform.  And one of those rules is we can't can only call and talk to our families twice a year, Mother's day and Christmas.  But there is somebody always there, someone who always listens, someone who always answers the phone, somebody who always loves you.

In the Bible Dictionary of the LDS version of the King James Bible, it says under the entry for prayer "As soon as we learn the true relationship in which we stand toward God (namely, God is Our Father, and we are his children), then at once prayer becomes natural and instinctive on our part (Matt. 7: 7-11).  Many of the so called difficulties about prayer arise from forgetting this relationship.  Prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other." (Bible Dictionary pg 752.)

God is literally our Father, I know this to be true.  Our physical lineage goes back all the way to Adam down many generations, our spiritual lineage only goes back one, and that's to our Heavenly Father.  And just as our earthly parents have that love for us, He loves us even more.  "If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?" (Matt. 7:11). 

Some people worry and wonder what they should say when they pray.  Remember this, He is your Father, talk to Him like you would your own Father.  If your relationship with your earthly father isn't the greatest, that doesn't mean you can't develop a strong relationship with your Heavenly Father.  Talk to Him, He loves you, pour your heart out to Him.

When you need some help or you need some answers, be humble enough to get on your knees and come before Him in prayer.  I say this all the time to people, there is never such a thing as a bad prayer. 

I wish I could express this these thoughts better in words, but I will give it a try.  I know the power of prayer is real.  It's helped me through the hardest times of my life.  Sometimes, I struggle and I feel so alone.  I have received some of the greatest comfort to my soul by simply telling Him all that I feel.  He never wants you to think that he is tired of listening to you.  He has all the time in the world and would gladly spend all that time with you.  I know He is there, I know His son Jesus Christ lives and is the one who carries my prayers to my Father in Heaven.  I know that He hears and answers our prayers.  Answers may come in a variety of different ways and may take some time to receive, but He does answer.  This I know and of this I so testify.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Lessons to Learn from my Ancestors

My Family Tree!!
I discovered something new just recently.  If you have an account, this takes about a minute to do if not less.  Simply go to this link,, type in your username and password, and boom, in an instant, this 9 generation family tree is generated for you and you can save it and keep it to print and share with others!!  I did this just recently and it's already become a blessing in my life.  It's allowed me to see what work I can do to make mine more complete and gives me a visual to see who these people really are and how they relate to me.

I've enjoyed so many blessings because of this new found joy in my family heritage.  While packing all my stuff just before leaving home to be a missionary, my dad pulled up on the computer a whole bunch of stories from my family history and printed them for me to take while on my mission.  I've briefly glanced over them and read a few, but really haven't gotten to much into them.  The reason being is I can't remember who is who and how they relate to me.  But with this new chart that is up above, I've been able to go through these personal histories of my family and experience a deep personal connection with them.  Here is a few things I have learned already.

Men working on granite blocks for the Salt Lake Temple
I learned that my blood comes from a few European countries.  My last name Rasmussen comes from Denmark.  My great-great-great Grandfather was a Rasmussen from Denmark who sailed to the USA and Denmark and back 7 times before settling with his family in Idaho!  I also have family deeply rooted in England and especially Scotland.  I learned a lot from the example of one of my many great-great-great-great grandmother Elizabeth Patterson Hunter.  She suffered a lot in her youth and also throughout her adult life.  She was forced to work in coal mines in Scotland but she joined the Church and traveled with her family across the sea and across the plains.  She endured hardship after hardship but always had a positive attitude.  She loved to sing and dance and could brighten anybodies heart.  She loved her Scottish heritage and shared it quite frequently with others to boost their spirits during hard times.  She raised a wonderful family and helped establish the Saints out in the west.  Her husband Adam Patterson Hunter was also a stalwart example of hard work, love, and perseverance.  I was so happy to learn that he contributed almost his whole life to the building of the Salt Lake Temple which has a special place in my heart.  He gave of his time and means for years to help quarry and haul the granite blocks from Little Cottonwood Canyon to be used in the building of the temple.  I learned a lot from their history, about what I can do when I go through hard times in my life.  I learned from their examples that I can go through anything in life with a positive attitude and that there is always a bright future in store.

I wish I could share more about what I've learned from these family histories.  But overall the experience has been remarkable.  I've learned lessons of hard work and perseverance as I've read about the rich history of my pioneer ancestors.  I know they are just across the veil and that they are supporting me through what ever I may go through.  I wish to share with others how great a blessing this simple research of my family history has already blessed my life.  If you have just a quick minute, jump on a computer and print one of these family tree fans that you see on the top.  Then start finding some old stories of your ancestors.  As you reflect back on what they did, you will find so much added strength and an even greater personal relationship with those who have gone on before you.  I know this Church is true and that families are together forever.  I can't wait for the day when I can finally meet these my ancestors and thank them for all they have done to provide me with the life I enjoy today.  I love them so much and I love my living family even all the greater!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Salt Lake Tabernacle

Inside the Salt Lake Tabernacle
Temple Square has been one of my reoccurring themes lately for this blog.  So to continue on with that theme, I thought it would be nice to share a little information about the Salt Lake Tabernacle.

Old Bowery and Tabernacle
From Early Beginnings

Shortly after the first group of Saints arrived in the Salt Lake valley in 1847, one of their first objectives was to build a place where they could all gather together to worship and be instructed.  The first structure built was a large bowery consisting of logs and branches.  Simple yet it served it's purpose.  By 1857 though the Saints built what was called Old Tabernacle next to the bowery.  However by 1861 Old Tabernacle was to small to meet the needs of the Saints.  President Brigham Young then directed that a new, larger meeting hall be built.  In 1863, construction began on the Salt Lake Tabernacle under the direction of Church architect William H. Folsom.

Tabernacle under construction
So construction began.  The main egg-shaped roof was built entirely of wood out of a unique and unusual design.  The early Saints were very limited in available resources and had to use a lot of ingenuity to take on the project.  Since nails were so scarce wooden pegs were used instead and beams were wrapped with boiled animal skins.

Salt Lake Tabernacle in 1869
The Tabernacle was finished enough to hold October conference in 1867 and by 1870 all the organ fixtures were in place.  By 1875 the entire building was complete including the gallery and was dedicated by President John Taylor in the October conference of that year.  The organ at first contained only 700 pipes but over the years it was expanded to contain now 11,623 pipes.  Despite conditions of poverty, the Saints were able to build one of the most amazing structures of our day. 
Salt Lake Tabernacle Today

The Tabernacle Today
Today the Tabernacle still stands.  From 2005 to 2007, she underwent major renovations to improve seismic strength and renovate the aging building.  New pews were put in place and an overall restoration project with new state of the art equipment and a new aluminum roof.  She was rededicated in the April conference of 2007 and has continued to serve as a meeting hall for various events and as the home of the world renowned Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

It amazes me how much the early pioneers sacrificed to build such an amazing building.  It tells me that they really loved their Lord and Savior to build for Him from very limited means a meeting hall so they could worship Him.  I'm so thankful for all those early Saints who gave of their time and means to provide us in today's world something to look back on and cherish.  From the Tabernacle, many amazing talks and revelations have been given for our day.  Some of the most amazing music comes from this building.  Without it, the Church and the world would never be the same.  I know this Church is true and that my Savior lives.  I'm always fascinated with the amazing pioneer buildings on Temple Square, but I need to remember the fact that they are there to bring me and many others closer to our Savior.  May we take courage from the example of these early Saints and do the best we can to love our Savior.

Refering sites: 

More Photos of the Salt Lake Tabernacle
Tabernacle Today on Temple Square
Survey of the Tabernacle Roof Arches

Early Tabernacle Organ before addition

Tabernacle Organ and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Mediator


 I remember watching this movie in Sunday School when I was a kid.    Somehow it's always stuck with me and has left a lasting impression in my life.  It helps me really understand how necessary the Atonement of our Lord and Savior really is.  It helps me really understand how much He love us.  he wasn't required to pay the debt for us, He wasn't forced to do anything.  Everything He did was all voluntary, because He Loves us!!  

How wonderful it is that we have been given such a marvelous opportunity to be forgiven of all our mistakes.  Although there is more to the Atonement then this simple parable, it's real.  Our Savior lives and loves each and everyone of us.  His Sacrifice enables us to be cleansed from our sins and all the guilt and shame that accompanies them.  Because of Him, we can return to live again with our Father in Heaven.  We still have to do our part, but as the Mediator said "It will be possible."  I know this to be true.  I love my Savior and I know that He loves me and died for me so that I can return to live with Him and my Heavenly Father some day.

"For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all that we can do." - 2nd Nephi 25:23

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Faith + Effort = Sucess!!

This equation is something that my dad taught me ever since I was a kid.  I remember distinctly him teaching a lesson on this to me and a group of friends in church one day.  But as I've been growing up and starting my own life I've really learned how true this equation is in any aspect of our life, including our spirituality.

The scriptures, including the Book of Mormon, tell us stories of individuals who often times encounter problems and need help solving them.  One such example in the Book of Mormon is one of my favorite and I love sharing it.

The Brother of Jared (Ether 2 & 3)

So just a quick back story.  The story of the Brother of Jared starts when they are building the tower of Babel.  The Lord confounds the languages but the Brother of Jared, his family, his brother and his family, gathered themselves together and plead with the Lord to not confound their language and they could still understand each other.  The Lord answered their prayers and He lead them through the wilderness to the sea so they could journey to the promised land.  They were commanded to build ships which they did.  However there were some problems with the design of the ships that were apparent after their completions.  So the Brother of Jared went up and prayed to the Lord for guidance on how to fix these problems.  Here are the 3 problems they faced (Ether 2:19)
  1. Can't breath
  2. Can't steer
  3. Can't see
So the Lord gives him some guidance as to how to fix these problems. 

First one He says "Behold, thou shalt make a hole in the top, and also in the bottom; and when thou shalt suffer for air thou shalt unstop the hole and receive air.  And if it be so that the water come in upon thee, behold, ye shall stop the hole, that ye may not perish in the flood." (Ether 2:20)

The second problem He says "Nevertheless, I will bring you up again out of the depths of the sea; for the winds have gone forth out of my mouth, and also the rains and the floods have I sent forth.  And behold, I prepare you against these things; for ye cannot cross this great deep save I prepare you against the waves of the sea, and the winds which have gone forth, and the floods which shall come." (Ether 2:24-25

But the third problem the Lord says "What will ye that I should do that ye may have light in your vessels?" (Ether 2:23)

So the Brother of Jared has to solve a problem, which is to provide light in his ships without using fire or windows (Ether 2:23-24).  How is he going to find success in solving this problem?  He applies Faith + Effort = Success.

 The Brother of Jared goes out and starts to put forth effort.  The scriptures say that he ""did molten out of a rock sixteen small stones; and they were white and clear, even as transparent glass; and he did carry them in his hands upon the top of the mount, and cried again unto the Lord."  I'm no expert on glass or metal work, but I do know that there is a lot of effort involved.  The Brother of Jared didn't just grab a couple rocks off the ground, he made them!!  He had to go and gather the materials, make a furnace and bellows, get everything hot enough, and work with all those materials to make very pure and beautiful stones.  He put forth a lot of effort.

Then he exercised his faith.  He then went up and asked the Lord if He could touch the stones with His finger to make them shine.  This was the solution the Brother of Jared developed to solve the problem.  Not only that, he put forth the effort to make it work.  Now he had enough faith to ask the Lord if He could help finish the job.  What courage and what faith he had to ask the Lord for this favor.  

Long story short, the Brother of Jared had his prayer answered.  The Lord touched the stones and they shined, giving light to the vessels.  Not only that, the Brother of Jared was able to see the finger of the Lord.  And because of that faith that developed in him he was able to see all of the Lord and was shown everything, because of his faith.  Wow, what an experience!

The Brother of Jared applied two simple things.  He had the faith and he exercised it, and then he put forth the effort that he was capable of.  Because of this, he was shown marvelous things and was blessed with success.  I know this simple equation to be true.  I see it all throughout the scriptures.  Not only that I've applied it in my own life.  I know that if we have the faith and do our part, the Lord will take care of the rest and we will be blessed with success.  That's how the Atonement works really.  If we have faith in Christ, do all that we can, then Christ takes care of the rest and we are blessed with remission of our sins and the opportunity to live with God again.  I know this to be true.  I know the gospel to be true.  I know that Jesus Christ lives and His Atonement is real.  I know this to be true and I hope this will be of some help to someone.  I love Him with all my heart!!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

What Got Me On A Mission

It was April of 2011 during General Conference, an entire Church wide meeting broadcast from Salt Lake City.  It's held on the first weekend of April and October each year and has a total of four general session and a priesthood session on Saturday evening.  I was home from school that weekend and with my dad at the meeting house watching the broadcast of the priesthood session.  Lots of things were on in my life and my mind was in many different places.  College was one of my main concerns but another thought was lurking in the back of my head.  My 19th birthday was coming up in July and the opportunity was before me to apply and submit my application to become a missionary.  The plan to serve a mission was always there ever since I was a kid.  But now that the time actually was coming I was a bit concerned.  I was very anxious and nervous about the whole prospect of becoming a missionary.  It would require a great deal of sacrifice including two years away from home, family, school, and possible career opportunities.  I wasn't sure I was ready or strong enough to handle those sacrifices and even handle the stresses of missionary life.

General Conference at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City, UT
So all these things are going through my head as the priesthood session starts.  The first speaker was Elder Neil L. Anderson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his talk w
as entitled "Preparing the World for the Second Coming".  It was as if he was speaking to me throughout that whole time.  He talked of our priesthood duty to serve missions and the sacrifices we have to make.  But he also talked about the reward of serving a mission.  Not in terms of worldly rewards, but eternal rewards.

He talked about the example of Sid Going, a young man who gave up a lifetime opportunity to serve a mission.  He wouldn't trade that experience for anything.  The blessing of bringing others into the gospel outweighed anything he or anybody could imagine.  It took me a while to really soak that in when I heard his story.  However from that talk I knew that God wanted me to serve a mission.  So here I am now, serving my Father in Heaven by serving His children and my brothers and sisters.  It's taken me some time to really understand why I want to serve a mission, but I've learned this much.  That the blessings of the gospel are real and the ultimate outcome of living the restored gospel is happiness.  That's always the end result, pure joy and happiness that only God and Jesus Christ can give us.  I don't want to keep all that joy to myself, it's just to much.  I want to share it with others.  It's taken me some time to learn this lesson but now I feel my Savior's love and want others too as well.  I know this Church is true, that our Savior lives, that Joseph Smith was His prophet in these last days, that the Book of Mormon testifies of Him and helps us understand even more about Him.  As I said before, this gospel and church bring nothing but joy into my life.  This is why I serve, because I love others and love my Heavenly Father and my Savior Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Nauvoo Temple

Nauvoo, IL Temple
The Nauvoo Temple is another temple that I have such a love for.  The story of it's construction and the sacrifice the early saints made in it's completion really inspires me.  My grandparents served their missions in Nauvoo and as a kid I got to go to Nauvoo.  I was only 10 years old at the time and the newly rebuilt temple had not been dedicated yet, but it's exterior was complete and it was amazing to look at, especially as the sun set over the Mississippi River.  So here's a little background information so I can share a how cool this temple is.
Original Nauvoo Temple

Original Nauvoo Temple

Soon after the saints found refuge from persecution in Missouri, the Lord soon required of them to build a temple in the city of Nauvoo, Illinois.  The announcement came in August 1840.  Construction began February 18th, 1841 with the laying of the cornerstone on April 6th, 1841.  The temple was built from light grey limestone quarried from nearby locations.  The saints made great sacrifices to build the temple despite growing persecution.  Eventually this persecution lead to the death of the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum on June 27, 1844 in Carthage, Illinois.  However the saints did all they could to finish the temple before having to leave.  Most of the saints left Nauvoo to go west in February, 1846 but stayed till it was finished and dedicated on 30 April 1846.

Nauvoo Temple on  Fire
On October 8 or 9 1848, the interior of the temple was destroyed by an arson fire.  And in 1850 tornado force winds toppled one of the remaining walls, leaving the remaining stone walls unstable and eventually were torn down in interest of safety.

 New Nauvoo Temple!

After the temple walls were burned and destroyed, there was nothing left except an empty lot and a few stones here and there.  During the period between 1937 and 1962, the Church was able to purchase the empty lot on which the temple stood.  In 1999 President Gordon B. Hinckley announced that the Nauvoo temple would be rebuilt!  It was completed in 2002 and was dedicated between 27–30 June 2002 by Gordon B. Hinckley.

Temples are such amazing places.  You feel the Spirit so strongly and you learn so much about God and Jesus Christ.  For some reason, the Nauvoo temple is so special to me.  The early saints made so many sacrifices to build it and now today their sacrifice wasn't in vain.  I know the Church is true and that Jesus Christ lives and guides this church today.  I hope someday we all can have a chance to enter into God's house and feel of His love that permeates every square inch of each of His holy temples.

More Pictures of the Nauvoo Temple!

Nauvoo Temple Creation Room

Nauvoo Temple Celestial Room
Nauvoo Temple Assembly Room

Thursday, January 26, 2012

ABC's of Living the Abundant Life

So President Thomas S. Monson gets all the credit on this one.  This entire post all comes from his message in this January's Engisn.  His First Presidency message was "Living the Abundant Life".  He defined abundant life as "a life filled with an abundance of success, goodness, and blessings".  Just as there are fundamental ABC's we used as kids, he outlined the ABC's we can follow to gain this abundant life.

Having a Positive Attitude

"We can’t direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails. For maximum happiness, peace, and contentment, may we choose a positive attitude."  Simple yet profound.  We go through life and we have so many ups and downs.  Most of the time, it seems like there are more downs than ups.  But we have the choice in how we react.  We could become depressed and mopey or we could have a positive outlook.  It's amazing how powerful a positive attitude can have through any trial we go through.

Believe in Yourself

"Don’t limit yourself and don’t let others convince you that you are limited in what you can do. Believe in yourself and then live so as to reach your possibilities.  You can achieve what you believe you can. Trust and believe and have faith."  If you don't believe you can do it then you won't.  But if you have faith in yourself and believe you can accomplish what you wish to accomplish, then it's possible.

Face Challenges with Courage

"Courage is required to make an initial thrust toward one’s coveted goal, but even greater courage is called for when one stumbles and must make a second effort to achieve."  We can't be scared to take risks.  This is one of the problems I face quite a bit, the fear of failing.  It's taken me some time to realize this and I have to relearn it each and every day, but don't worry about it!!  Life is designed in such a way that failure is a part of it.  Failure isn't there to depress you, but to help you grow.  It allows you to learn from your mistake and better plan out your next attack so that come next time you will succeed.  "Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says, 'I’ll try again tomorrow.'”

Even though the first month of the new year is almost over, we still can renew those goals and resolutions we made at the beginning of the year.  Come join me in a journey to live the abundant life as we try and apply these principles.  If a prophet of God says that we can do it, then we can!!  We just got to have a positive attitude, faith in ourselves, and courage to get the job done.  I know this Church is true and with the help of our Savior Jesus Christ we can do anything.  "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." - Phillippians 4:13

Living the Abundant Life - President Monson

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Love for the Temple

Logan, Utah Temple
I've always had a special love for the temple, ever since I was a kid the temple has been in my life.  Growing up in Utah, you can't help but see a temple or to in your travels.  I mean I drove from Logan, Utah to Provo, Utah, a three hour drive, and saw eight temples and passed nine.  Soon it's going to be nine or ten.  Either way I've always had the temple in my life and I always knew it was special.  But not until recently did I ever imagine what the temple really means to me.

The temple is amazing!  The Spirit is so strong there I can't even describe it.  While you are within the walls of those sacred buildings, the world goes away.  You don't worry about the troubles of life.  You feel at peace, you feel calm, you feel great!  You learn so much about God and Christ it's breathtaking.  You are on the top of the world.  Before I came out on my mission, my mom and I attended the Jordan River Temple, only about a month before me leaving home.  As we were leaving for home, she and I agreed that you feel different leaving the temple.  You come out happy and joyful, with light filling your body and spirit.  These are feelings that are hard to describe, but they are wonderful.

Celestial Room at the Draper, Utah Temple
The temple though isn't there just to make you feel good.  Special ordinances necessary for salvation are performed in the temple.  Just like baptism is an ordinance (or ceremony) so are the things we do in the temple.  Because of these ordinances, family units can perpetuate beyond the grave.  I have felt that assurance in my life and it came to me one day at the temple.

One of the sacred ordinances we perform in the temple is called the endowment.  After the endowment, you end up in a room that every temple has called the Celestial Room.  These places are among the most magnificent and beautiful places you will ever be in.  They symbolic of the presence of God, so you can image how powerful it is to be there.  It was my first time at the temple back in June of 2011.  I was with my parents, my grandma, my grandparents, and other extended family members.  After the endowment, I walked into the Celestial Room of the Bountiful, Utah Temple.  As I walked in the room, it was real.  It felt like I had walked into God's presence and His love filled every space there.  I turned my head and there were my parents and my family.  I broke down crying it was amazing.  I was back home with my Heavenly Father and I wasn't alone.  I was with my family and we weren't going to be separated.  Even my Grandpa Rasmussen who had passed away a year before this time was there.  I was with my family forever in the kingdom of our Father in Heaven.

Palmyra, New York Temple
That's why temples are so important.  Without they are what allow us to return back to our Father in Heaven.  Not only that, but they allows us to return not alone, but with our families.  I can't describe how amazing the temple is!  I wish to help everybody get there and experience what I've had a chance to experience.  Please make the temple a priority in your life, marvelous blessings await your.

I know this Church is true.  It isn't just another church out there in the mix of things.  It is God's kingdom again restored on the earth with prophets, apostles, and the priesthood authority.  I know Christ is real and that He did suffer for our sins and afflictions.  I know that it is only through Him that we can return back to live with God again.  Oh and by the way, everything in the temple centers on Jesus Christ.

If you want to learn more about the family and the temple, try this link.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Plan of Salvation 101

Jesus Christ Statue at Temple Square

The Plan of Salvation in a nutshell is God's plan for our lives.  It explains where we came from, why we are here, and where are we going.  It's so simple yet amazing.  It allows us to learn and gain the things we need to become like our Father in Heaven.  It gives us hope for the future and direction for what we have to do here in our lives.  And my thought about it all is that it actually makes sense. 

God's Purpose:  Our Father in Heaven's purpose  is " bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." Moses 1:39.  In order to accomplish this, we needed to first gain physical bodies and then experience what it's like to make our own choices and learn from our experiences.

Pre-earth Life:  Before we came to this earth, all of us lived with our Father in Heaven as His spirit children.  He is literally the Father of our Spirits and loves us more than we can comprehend.  So because of His love His purpose for us comes into play.  A plan was made and we chose to accept it.  Jesus Christ is the center of that plan and without Him it wouldn't work.

Earth Life:  Once the plan was accepted Heavenly Father gave His son Jesus Christ to create the earth. Through Jesus Christ the earth was formed.  This provided us with a place where we could gain physical bodies and be tried and tested and gain the experience necessary to obtain eternal life (living forever in God's presence). 

Adam and Eve were the first of God's children to come to earth.  They were placed in the Garden of Eden, still in God's presence and in a state of innocence where they could know no joy because they knew not any opposition.  They were given the ability to choose called agency or free will.  They were given a commandment not to eat of the forbidden fruit or else they would have to leave the Garden and God's presence.  Satan tempted them thinking it would thwart the plan.  They used their agency and chose to partake of the fruit.  As a result they were cast off from God's presence and into the world which we live now.  Because of the Fall Adam and Eve were able to have children and provided us the way where we could gain bodies of our own.

Because of the Fall we are subject to physical and spiritual death.  Physical death comes as a result because our bodies get old and worn out and eventually die.  It's the separation of our spirits from our bodies.  Spiritual death is separation from God's presence due to sin.  We all suffer both of these conditions because our bodies die and we mess up along the way.  Without a mediator or help we are stuck and can't progress any further.

Jesus Christ was chosen to be our Savior in pre-earth life.  He was the First Born of the Father and the Only Begotten of the Father in the flesh.  Because of this He was able to suffer for our sins and shortcomings, died, and was resurrected.  Because of Him everybody will be resurrected, regardless of their righteousness.  He also provided a way for us to overcome spiritual death.  This requires effort on our part though.  In order to qualify for His saving grace, we must follow His teachings and obtain the necessary ordinances for salvation.  This is called The Gospel of Jesus Christ.  This is our purpose here on the earth now.  "...this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yeah, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labours." Alma 34:32.  If we follow His teachings and become more like Him, we will be cleansed from our sins and overcome spiritual death.

After this Life:  There will come a time for each of us when we will experience physical death, separation of our spirits from our bodies.  However Christ has overcome that barrier for each and everyone of us and when the times comes we will all be resurrected.  However before the resurrection occurs, our spirits need a place to reside till that time.  This is called the Spirit world.  There are two divisions of the Spirit world, Spirit Paradise and Spirit Prison (sometimes in the scriptures referred to as hell).  Those who were righteous in this life will live in a state of rest in paradise.  While those who were wicked or never had a chance to hear the gospel will be in a place called prison.  However those in paradise can and do teach those in prison so that everyone will have a chance to hear the gospel and have a fair chance to accept or reject this.  It is only a temporary place the Spirit world and it is not the end.

When the time comes we will all be resurrected, each and everyone one of us who has ever lived on the earth.  Once again, we can thank our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for this.  Once we are resurrected we will all be brought before the judgement seat.  There God will judge us and if we qualified for the Savior's grace He will be our advocate with the Father.  We will be judged according to our works in earth life and by the desires of our hearts.  God is fair and will judge fairly.

Three Kingdoms of Glory:  In God's house there are many mansions, each with it's different degrees of glories.  Our placement in part's of God's house are determined by the judgement.  He will judge us and place us where we most qualify for and are most comfortable with.  The first glory is the Celestial Kingdom, symbolized by the glory of the sun.  It is where God resides and where we experience the blessings of exaltation, progression, and eternal life.  The second glory is the Terrestrial Kingdom, symbolized by the glory of the moon.  It is a place where those who lived honorable lives but didn't accept the gospel will be placed.  And the third is the Telestial Kingdom, symbolized by the glory of the stars.  It is the place where those who were wicked and who did not repent of their sins will go. 

So what does this mean for me?:  Well it means a lot really.  This is God's plan for our lives and we are presented with a wonderful opportunity to become like Him.  Our life here on earth is but a minute in comparison with the vastness of eternity.  Because of this plan we know who we are, God's children.  We know what we must do in this life, and that is to look upon our Savior Jesus Christ.  He is the way, and through Him we can be cleansed from our sins and return back to the presence of our Father in Heaven. 

I know this plan is real.  It's a plan of happiness, a plan of mercy, and plan of love.  With it we can experience the greatest level of joy and happiness that a loving Father in Heaven wants us to have.  Please take some time to consider this and ask God if it is true.  With sincere study and pray, He will let you know what you can do to return and live again with Him.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Dear to the Heart of the Shepherd

Dear to the heart of the Shepherd,
Dear are the sheep of his fold;
Dear is the love that he gives them,
Dearer than silver or gold.
Dear to the heart of the Shepherd,
Dear are his "other" lost sheep;
Over the mountains he follows,
Over the waters so deep.

Out in the desert they wander,
Hungry and helpless and cold;
Off to the rescue he hastens,
Bringing them back to the fold.

Green are the pastures inviting,
Sweet are the waters and still.
Lord we will answer thee gladly,
"Yes, blessed Master we will!
Make us thy true undershepherds;
Give us a love that is deep.
Send us out into the desert,
Seeking they wandering Sheep."

Out in the desert they wander,
Hungry and helpless and cold;
Off to the rescue we'll hasten,
Bringing them back to the fold.

Hymn #221 - "Dear to the Heart of the Shepherd" 

Our brothers and sisters are out there and they need our help.  Our Savior Jesus Christ gave His life to save all of us lost sheep.  We can become more like Him as we strive to develop that same kind of love. Let us try and do all we can to help those who are in need of help.  Those who are lost, hungry, helpless, and cold.  Off to the rescue we will hasten and bring them back to the fold.  How cool will it be to have our Father in Heaven trust us enough as His servants to carry on His work of rescuing His lost sheep.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Why Read the Book of Mormon?

So picture this.  You're at home, sitting down watching TV listening about the latest weather pattern that is about to come in.  You hear the doorbell ring and outside your front door are two young men dressed in white shirts and ties.  They proceed to tell you (as quickly as they can before you shut the door) about some new book of scripture.  It's called The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ.  They say it's a book about the people in the America's and that Jesus Christ came and visited them.  You're a little bit curious but also skeptical, and you want to see how much these guy's really know.  So you ask a simple question, "Why should I read The Book of Mormon?"

It's a good question, and one that deserves some thought.  I mean, people usually only due things either to gain a reward or avoid a punishment, it's simple psychology.  Fortunately we have the words of modern day prophets to help us out.  President Ezra Taft Benson, former president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, gave an amazing talk in the October 1986 General Conference titled The Book of Mormon - Keystone of Our Religion.  In it he outlined 3 reasons why members of the Church should strive to study the Book of Mormon throughout their life's.  I think that the same three reasons apply to everyone and I think they are worth some thought.  So here they are -

1. The Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion:

The Prophet Joseph Smith said that "the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book."  Simply stated a keystone holds an arch together, without it the structure crumbles.  If the Book of Mormon was false, then Joseph Smith wasn't a prophet.  If he wasn't a prophet than the things he said and did weren't true, and the whole Church falls and isn't true.  But with the Book of Mormon we are absolute and unshaken in our faith.  This is one reason why you should read the Book of Mormon, because by gaining a witness that the book is true, you come to know that "Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, that Joseph Smith is his revelator and prophet in these last days, and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the Lord's kingdom once again established on the earth, preparatory to the second coming of the Messiah." (Introduction to the Book of Mormon)

2. The Book of Mormon was written for our day:

Many prophets in the Book of Mormon testified that the words they were writing were for us.  Many of these prophets even saw in vision and in prophesy our day and what we would need to steer us in the right direction towards God.  From the Book of Mormon we learn of the promises and covenants God has made with His children and those in the America's that are still in effect today.  We learn what happens when a civilization centers itself in God and what happens when they choose to disobey God.  We even learn where most of the ancestors of the American Indians came from for crying out loud!  I mean if each of us had a manual for our individual lives, wouldn't we at least glance at it?  The Book of Mormon is just that.  Specific direction and counsel for each and every one of us in this day and age.

3. The Book of Mormon helps us draw nearer to God:

This is something you have to experience more than anything else.  Almost half of the verses contained in the Book of Mormon include Christ in some way or another.  It contains the record of a people who were blessed with the opportunity to feel the prints in His hands and feet and the wound in His side.  It contains His gospel as given to His prophets.  It's overall purpose is to bring everyone closer to God and His Son Jesus Christ.  I can tell anybody enough about how powerful this book is.  You feel the Holy Ghost so strongly through the simple words on it's pages.  This Book is From God!!  The good feelings you get from reading the book are indescribable.  If you want to come closer to God and our Savior, this book will do just that more than anything else.

I want everyone to know that I know the Book of Mormon is true.  For me, my witness didn't come in one night at one particular moment of my life.  For me it came in bits and pieces, like a puzzle.  As I came to read and study its words truth was revealed to me at the rate that was perfect for me.  This continued for years until the thought came to my head "You know it's true, you have always known it is true."  I urge everyone from the bottom of my heart to simply read the book.  It's so simple, pick it up and read it.  Read it to come closer to God, read it for understanding, read it humbly so that the Holy Ghost can tell you if it is true.  I testify the truthfulness of Moroni's promise, God will answer you!!  Just give it a try, see what it can do in your life.

"And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.  And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things." Moroni 10:3-5