Sunday, March 30, 2008

Analogy #2

Here goes another analogy of the spiritual kind...

As I said in a previous post, I went hiking in Kings Canyon National Park a couple weeks ago. I was hiking to a point called Panorama Point (which is the third picture in my previous blog). The whole trail was covered in snow, but fortunately there were still tracks from previous hikers and maybe even a wild animal or two. There were also these orange circle posted on an occasional tree to indicate that I was still on the trail. So, after some time I passed by a half-buried restroom and arrived at a scenic point. I took some pictures, settled on a boulder to eat some food, unintentionally littered (I wasn't willing to risk my life for my dropped wrapper and water bottle), and took a few pictures. I really wasn't sure if that was the end of the trail or not. Shortly after that point, I kept following the tracks until they abruptly stopped. Just like that. Only untouched snow ahead. What happened to the tracks? Were the previous hikers abducted by aliens or eaten by a flying bear? I had just passed an orange circle but I couldn't see any more beyond it. I figured that maybe that was the end of the trail and decided to back-track it from there.

I had a few insights during that hike. Isn't it interesting how nature opens one's mind like that? I started thinking of the spiritual "journeys" we take and the different religions on the earth today. Those tracks and orange circle signify the spiritual guidance that our Heavenly Father gives us. I was particularly thinking about the prophets that God has called since ancient times to be His representative and have His will communicated to His children on Earth. Since ancient times, God has called these men to be His messengers, teach eternal truths, record their teachings in scriptures for current and future generations, denounce false views and sin, prepare people for the coming (first and second) of Jesus Christ, and receive divine revelations and direction for our benefit. Some of these prophets in times past have included Adam, Abraham, Moses, Isaiah, and John the Baptist. People have the choice to either listen to the prophets and be blessed or to reject the teachings of the prophets and, as a result, distance themselves from God. One of Jesus Christ's purposes during his life was to establish His Church. His Church was built on a foundation of His teachings and eternal truths that had been taught by the previous prophets. He called Peter and other apostles to lead His Church and they were given the power and authority to act in His name and receive guidance for the Church. Unfortunately, Peter and the apostles were not well received. The prophet and apostles were killed or banished, and as a result the power and authority to act in God's name was taken from the earth, and the foundation of Christ's Church crumbled. This is where the snow tracks stopped. Where was the guidance? This is where many consider the heavens to have closed and God would not speak to His children any more. Through the hundreds of years that followed, inspiration still enlightened the hearts and minds of good men and women. The world was preparing for another prophet once again. (If you want to know what happened after that and when a new prophet was called, let me know).

Many people today think that the idea of a prophet today is outrageous. But why would it be? Is God, our Heavenly Father, only concerned with His children in ancient Israel? In the world we live in today, with so many things being labeled as "truth" and the other problems that we face, wouldn't there be an even greater need for divine direction and a solid foundation of truth? Isn't God the same yesterday, today, and forever? One of the unquestionable things in my life is that there is a prophet today. His name is Thomas S. Monson. He was sustained earlier this year as President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and also as a prophet, seer, and revelator. A couple months ago, I listened to his first address as a prophet and I had a confirmation, a feeling of confidence and certainty, that he is a true prophet. I have heard him speak may times before and I look forward to listening to him more. I know that as I follow his counsel and teachings, I can face the uncertainties of life -- the snow-covered paths -- with confidence and that I will always have a source for spiritual strength, insight, and truth. This upcoming weekend, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (aka Mormons) has a semiannual conference with messages from the prophet, apostles, and other leaders of the Church, that is broadcasted throughout the world. It's messages are not only for members of the church, but for everyone. I want to invite my friends and family, Mormons or not, to take the opportunity to listen to a prophet's voice. Everything that will be said could possibly improve your life. If you want more information, go to or you can drop by my place and watch it with me. This is a spiritual feast that I look forward to every year.
The trail has been laid before us and it is up to us to stay on it.

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