Returning LDS missionary sister Alexis Wood teaches Dennis about the importance of trials to become closer to Him. The Book of Mormon, Helaman. CTR. A lot of hilarious moments.
Hosted by a Gay convert to the “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.” Dennis Schleicher – Best-selling author of: “Is He Nut?” Elders Quorum First Counselor, Ward Mission Leader. Devotional and public speaker.
How do You Know Faith is Real❓I testify that the rewards are worth the effort! 🤔Remember the pattern;
1️⃣Hear the word of God, spoken and written by His servants; 2️⃣Let that word sink deep into your heart; 3️⃣Hunger in your soul for righteousness; 4️⃣Obediently follow gospel laws… and 5️⃣Raise your voice 🗣in mighty 🙏🏻 prayer… Asking in faith to know that Jesus Christ is our Savior. I promise that if you do these things sincerely and unceasingly, . … ‘knock, and it shall be opened unto you’ [ Matthew 7:6]
What are some examples you’ve witnessed that faith is real❓
President Boyd K. Packer explained: “The English word atonement, made of three words: at-one-ment, which means to set at one; one with God; to reconcile, to conciliate, to expiate. But did you know that the atonement appears only once in the English New Testament? (Romans 5:8 11)
Only once in the New Testament but 39 times in the Book of Mormon. What better to validate or confirm that the Book of Mormon is indeed another testament to bear witness of Jesus Christ?
I resonate with the unconditional and conditional blessing of the atonement. If we constantly strive to develop faith in Jesus Christ, repent and are baptized, we are cleansed from our past discretions. Through the gift of the Holy Ghost, we can be sanctified in worthy to remain in heavenly father’s presence. As we all strive to become more like Him.
What does the atonement of Jesus Christ in our gospel mean to you?
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This week I was studying the New Testament from the study guide, Come Follow Me (provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). I was studying about Paul and the horrible persecutions that many of those church members faced anciently.
Today, we as followers of Christ, encounter many of the same hardships that they did. When people say harsh words to me and when Satan attacks, I have found that I forget my own challenges by serving others. This week, the benefits of studying Paul’s teachings is that:
1️⃣ I want to strive every day to provide random acts of kindness
2️⃣ Be more receptive to listen to others
❓What have you found best helps you to manage and tackle your daily challenges? When you get knocked down, what picks you back up again?
I remember the nervousness that overcame me not long after I felt the impression to seek out and listen to the Missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They talk a lot about “being in the world, but not of the world,” but all of my friends were “of the world,” none of my family were members of The Church (except my granddaughters) and most of my friends had “alternative lifestyles.” When I decided I wanted and needed to be Baptized, I prayed constantly about the situation with my friends. How could I tell my friends I was now a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, would they want to be my friends anymore? Did that matter?
During my repentance process in the weeks before my Baptism, I was relatively quiet on Facebook, a social media outlet where I had spent an inordinate amount of time during the previous 5 years accumulating an audience for my writing. At times I had been known to make a spectacle out of myself, becoming rather dramatic about loves and losses and pain and pleasures. I had been known for “letting it all hang out.” How could I reconcile my previous behavior with the life I wanted, no, needed to create and begin to live? I prayed more.
The answers came gradually, but they came. I was impressed to read “The Articles of Faith.” They all rang so true in my heart that not only did my “bosom begin to burn” but I also wept with joy several times. Then I came to the 11th:
“We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.”
The second part of that statement, “and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may [emphasis added]” caused me to completely lose my cool. I broke down and cried loudly; I bawled. Why? Because it was an answer to my prayers. There was NOTHING in the church Doctrine that said I had to exclude those who worshiped differently from myself from my life, ABSOLUTELY the opposite!!!
Relief filled my soul. But what about all of the people who followed my social media? Now that I no longer practiced alternative beliefs, should I even be “out there” in the public? What about all of my photos and the things I posted?
As I began to hint about my baptism on social media some people I thought were my friends were quick to delete me from their connections, I cried but continued to pray about it. I didn’t want to lose friends, but those people who had “unfriended” me weren’t acting like friends. My prayers to my Heavenly Father continued, so did my tears.
I deleted hundreds of photos of myself that embarrassed me from my social media accounts and I prayed to know if I should continue with an online presence. After all, it would have been easier just to delete the accounts.
The impression I felt from the Holy Ghost was persistent: I needed to be LOUDER about my conversion than I was my sins.
I was at a loss how to accomplish that. The year before my Baptism was quite humiliating as I looked back upon my own inequity to others in addition to myself. I continued to pray and study my scriptures.
Then came the answer: Start a blog about your conversion to The Church.Share your feelings about God and your faith and be honest with those who follow you.
In a few weeks, it will have been 4 years since I sought out Missionaries to receive the lessons leading to my Baptism. In the subsequent years I have “cleaned up my act” on Facebook and other social media outlets, but I am louder than ever! I want the world (including my friends) to know HOW being a Mormon has changed my life!
In the last six years, I have worked hard not to alienate my friends and family. It’s difficult to convey to them how much I love ALL of them and I respect what they chose to believe in, all of that is part of them and I love them.
I had an opportunity to travel with a very dear friend of mine recently. Cub, as he likes to be called, is a professional photographer and acted as my assistant on a recent trip. In our travels across the country, we incurred our number of odd looks at us, but he helped me to see my world through different eyes. I saw judgment from my fellow church members when they watched him light a cigarette, I felt their stares and disapproval in both of our directions. That made me incredibly sad.
We visited the Ft. Lauderdale Temple towards the end of our time together. I asked Cub to take some photos of me when I was done with my session; he enthusiastically complied. When we were finished with our pictures another temple patron asked him to take her photo. Cub graciously agreed to do so.
While he was doing that act of service, I took a few snapshots myself for social media. I shared it first on Instagram as “Cubby doing service at the Temple,” then, after talking it over with Cub, I shared it again on my Facebook page and to a group called Facebook group focusing on members of The Church with an additional introduction:
For a while, I almost felt like I was exploiting my friend and his service. Although he had given his consent for both photos to be shared on the internet inclusive of my comment about his lifestyle, he had not asked for the photo to be taken.
While Cub probably wished I had allowed him to continue his nap in the car, I felt it was important. There was a lesson here for not only me. I am not ashamed of my friends. I love each and every one of them. Not in spite of their beliefs or their actions, but as WHOLE people with different ideas about life and different understandings of the universe.
We read in John 13:34 that Jesus Christ himself told us:
I believe that His love is unconditional. That is something I try to work towards each and
every day. I am so grateful to ALL of my diverse friends, like Cub, who help me to remember what my Heavenly Father commanded me to do.
I know without a doubt that there’s a place for all LGBTQ children within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. As fellow brothers and sisters, everything that I’ve studied in our doctrine displays zero evidence that I am not allowed to be an active member of our church. I can’t find anything that says, I don’t have a home or place to worship. It’s the media and those who are judgmental. Or have left our gospel that continuously tells me that I don’t have a home in Mormonism. Our doctrine, along with scripture tells me differently.
I saw this on the front page of the Church website this morning and I remembered our conversation and how this is your opportunity as you are called to speak to others – to bear witness of God’s love, His goodness and mercy to you in your life experiences.
This is the scripture that came to my mind so powerfully that I felt was for you:
Mosiah 18-8 And it came to pass that he said unto them: Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus were they called) and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light;
9 Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life-
I have tried to hold myself to this standard. All too often for me, I have fallen short to fully express and acknowledge God’s greatness and goodness–His love–in my testimonies. It is a skill I am still. working on to improve.
May I share with you some tools I am using to become more accomplished in this goal.
As I study the Book of Mormon, I examine how the great prophets testify of Jesus Christ. They are great examples who bear great witness of God’s love. We can learn much from them in this endeavor.
Consider Lehi and his dream [I Nephi 8] wherein he goes from a place of darkness to the tree of life. There he partakes of the fruit of the tree which we understand represents the love of God. After experiencing this love he states in verse 12 – “And as I partook of the fruit thereof it filled my soul with exceedingly great joy;” This is Lehi’s witness of God’s love. He then turns to his family and invites them to come and experience this great joy which he described as desirable above all other fruit.
I like to think this represents all missionary work. First we each must come to the tree and experience God’s love (baptism and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost). Then we turn and invite others to come to the tree (Come unto Christ) and receive this continuing gift of His love in always having his spirit to be with us.
I have made a detailed study of the Book of Mormon prophets of how they each in their own way have testified of this fruit and how it has brought them great joy.
Another tool I have used is to do a personal evaluation after I have shared my testimony – asking questions such as Did I acknowledge His hand in all the goodness I have experienced? Did I convey the joy that I experienced as I partook of the fruit? Did I invite others to partake as Lehi did?
After this personal evaluation revealing my weaknesses (which have been too many- to my dismay), I then reviewed what I desired to have said. That was followed by a prayer that the Lord would make my weak things become strong. There have been occasions when my prayer has been answered. I have been able to give a witness that exceeded my highest expectations, and yes my joy was great in that blessing.
Dennis, I know the Lord loves you greatly and has called you to serve in the building of His Kingdom. Thank you for asking me to share.