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Apr 25

How to Discover and Determine Objective Truth

This is a topic that has been on my mind quite a bit in the past few years. I’ve even started writing a book about it to make the process as simple as possible to understand. In my research, I have found many valuable resources that will be of great help to those folks who really want to understand absolute truth, where it comes from, and what it is.

In the book that I’m working on, the premise is that you cannot arrive at perfect truth through the reasoning of man, even scientific results. The only true source of absolute truth is always the Holy Ghost. If you’re interested in reading the working copy of my book, let me know. I’ll share it with you.

However, the book that you should absolutely study is called “Hearing the Voice of the Lord,” by Gerald N. Lund. If you’d like a panoptic view of what truth is, how to discover it, and how to know it’s the pure truth, this is the book that I’d recommend to everyone. Brother Lund goes through all parts of revelation: what it is, how to recognize it, the myriad ways it can manifest, how to pursue it, what to do once you’ve received it, how to recognize false revelation, and many other aspects of the topic.

Another book that I will be reading soon is called “Who is Truth?” by Jeffrey L. Thayne and Edwin E. Gantt. For some good info on what this is, take a look at the reddit post that originally made me aware of the book’s existence. It can be purchased on amazon, as well (I have no affiliation with these gentlemen, I’m just sharing the info).

Mar 01

26 New E-Books Available!

There are now a list of 26 new ebooks available on the Books and References page. A few of the titles include “Mormon Doctrine,” “Gospel Doctrine,” “President Woodruff’s Manifesto,” and many others. Some of the authors include works by B. H. Roberts, Joseph Fielding Smith, and James E. Talmage to name a few. If you’re looking to add to your collection of ebooks, take a look at the Books and References page.

Feb 27

E-Book: Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt

Lately, it’s been interesting to see how many electronic versions of classic LDS books I can find that are in the public domain. To share what I’ve found, I’ll post links to them here every once in awhile. The first one is “The Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt.” The cumulative list will also be available on the Books and References page here on ldsscripturestudy.com.

Link to ebook: Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt

Jan 25

Conversion is a Process, Not Just an Event

Sometimes, we might get impatient with the process of having a change of heart. Reading in “Alive in Christ,” by Robert L. Millet, I came upon something that brought mental clarity in that regard. Brother Millet says, “In a way, being born again is both an event and a process. It involves a moment or a season of decision, a resolve to change and improve, as well as a process that continues throughout our lives.  We are born again line upon line, precept upon precept.  Even those who have had an instantaneous conversion must learn to live by faith, walk in the light of the Spirit, and incorporate the powers of Christ and of his Spirit for the remainder of their days.  Truly, ‘now is our salvation nearer than when we believed’ (Romans 13:11).” (Alive In Christ, Robert L. Millett, p.197)

Jan 24

Journal Edition of the Book of Mormon

At Deseret Book this morning, I noticed that there were Books of Mormon that were so-called “Journal” editions. As I opened one up, I quickly figured out why. They have over-sized margins so that you can write a lot more out to the side of the verses.

This is great news for us. Each time you create a note, it gets a note number and you create a title for it. You write this out in the margin of each scripture that you link to that note. This allows you to quickly refresh your memory of what the note is or look it up in your journal if you want to, whether that’s online or in the PDF of your notes that you can create and carry with you (either digitally in a device or printed out).

If you’d like to take a look at these journals, here is a link:

Book of Mormon – Journal Edition

Jun 21

Recommended Reading: Drawing on the Powers of Heaven

One of the books I have been reading recently really stands out.  It is called "Drawing on the Powers of Heaven," by Grant Von Harrison.  The concepts are laid out in a simple way.  They are explained well.  It's a book that I would very much recommend if you would like greater access to the powers of heaven.

Brother Von Harrison explains what kind of faith is required, and how to gain it.  He talks about how critical it is to master the thoughts of your mind.  He also discusses how to set the right kind of goals.  One of the best things he said about goal-setting is that each goal is a means and no goal is an end.  When you accomplish one, set another one immediately.

The concept of grace is covered very well.  We always hear that after all we can do, the Lord will help us.  What exactly does that mean?  This book explains it simply and clearly.

Prayer is another of the topics of discussion.  Brother Von Harrison tells us how to pray to unlock the powers of Heaven.  He does it in a way that I had not previously considered.

To extract as much benefit as possible, you really need to read it over and over.  It's a lot like a workbook.  I'm on my third time through it in the past month.  If you haven't read "Drawing on the Powers of Heaven" already, it's one you should get at your earliest convenience.  It deserves a place in your library.

May 09

New Feature: Export Your Notes as a PDF

Recently, we've done some work on the Study Journal.  You now have the ability to export your notes as a PDF.  When you first log in, look for this icon in the upper-right corner of your notes list:

Export Notes as PDF

You will get a message saying that your request has been sent, and that it will be emailed to you once the system is done generating it.

The PDF is divided into three sections.

Section One

The first section lists out your notes in order of the note number.  This allows you to quickly look up a note number, see the title, and see the main scripture to which it is linked, along with the main keyword with which you have tagged it.  This section is formatted in much the same manner as the note list you see when you first log into your Study Journal.  For example:

Example of Section One

Section Two

This is where the notes actually appear.  The notes appear in order of the LDS Edition of the Standard Works: Old Testament, New Testament, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and then The Pearl of Great Price.  Each note may have one or more scripture references attached to it.  To save space, the note only appears in its entirety at the primary scripture reference.  At all subsequent references, you are directed to take a look at the primary scripture reference.

For example, I have a note called "The Effects of the Atonement on the State of Man."  Its primary scripture reference is 2 Nephi 2:1–30.  So the full note appears there.  However, I also have this note linked to Genesis 2:17.  In the PDF, when I look up Genesis 2:17, I see this:

Subsequent Scripture References

This way, we don't include the entire note in every reference to which it is linked.  Otherwise, the PDF may be several times bigger than it needs to be.  This can be a problem if you like to print it out.

Section Three

This is where notes are organized according to the keywords with which you have tagged them.  You can see notes that have similar keywords.  Let's say I wanted to study "revelation."  I could open my PDF, go to the third section, and take a look at the entry for "revelation."  It looks like this:

Revelation Keyword Example

This is helpful if you want to see all the notes you have tagged with a particular keyword.  It comes in handy if you want to study a particular topic, or if you need to write a talk on a specific subject.

Hopefully, this makes using your Study Journal a little easier.  Keep in mind that you can print the PDF if you like to have it in your hand like a book.  You can also put it into your smartphone or tablet for easy reference.

Aug 15

We Become Our Focus

You go where you're lookingA few years ago, I found myself in a class where I was learning to ride a motorcycle safely. We were going over how to perform safe turns. The instructions I was given said that, after initiating the turn, I was to look at where I wanted my motorcycle to go.

As a child one summer, my mother enrolled me in diving lessons. We learned to do different kinds of maneuvers, such as spins, twists, and flips. For a long time, it was difficult for me to get the hang of it. My wise coach finally explained the problem. He told me to look where I wanted my body to go, and it would just follow. To do a back flip, you should be looking as far above and behind yourself as you can when you leave the diving board. For a twist, you look to the side as you come off the board. Once I fully grasped that concept, my diving technique vastly improved.  Like in riding the motorcycle, my body and everything else went to wherever I was looking.

There is a lesson here.

Sometimes in life, we get in difficult situations. Maybe we want to do something that will bring pleasure now, but will not bring ultimate happiness. Or perhaps we are overwhelmed by the very numerous duties and responsibilities that demand our attention. We may be trying to avoid becoming like someone else.
The key to solving all of these problems (and a great many others) is to understand that we will go towards whatever we are looking at. We gravitate towards the object of our focus. Another way to say it is that whatever you feed grows.  Even if you are trying not to become something.  Your focus is on it, and unfortunately you are moving toward it, not away from it.

There are a great many things that happen in our lives, in our families, and in our minds. They are both positive things and negative things. Should you wish to focus on the negative things, you will end up seeing your life through the lens of negativity. However, you have just as much ability to focus on the positive things in your life and be thankful for them. This allows for much more happiness.

The same is true for goals. Have you ever heard the phrase “Keep your eye on the goal”? Why is this good advice? You keep focused on that goal long enough, and you will achieve it. This is why it could be a good idea to have a life mission statement that you read often. Doing so will keep you focused on who you want to be, and will help you become more and more like that person.

This is true even if you don’t know exactly how it will happen.  Heavenly Father will present you with opportunities to move further toward your goal.  As these opportunities present themselves, take advantage of them.

Let’s remember to keep our focus on the things we want to achieve, the people we want to become. You can always do the best you can with what you have right at the moment. Don’t worry that it doesn’t seem like that much. Just keep focusing on your goals and where you want to end up. You do this long enough, and you’ll end up right where you want to be.

For some scriptures that touch on this topic, take a look at the following:
Matthew 6:21-23
D&C 50:24
2 Nephi 9:39
3 Nephi 13:33
D&C 43:34