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.

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