Be the first to read an excerpt from Elder Jeffrey R. Holland's new book, To My Friends. This is not the full excerpt from this chapter. To read the rest of it, go to deseretbook.com and order a copy of this fabulous book!
On one occasion Jesus came upon a group arguing vehemently with His disciples. When the Savior inquired as to the cause of this contention, the father of an afflicted child stepped forward, saying he had approached Jesus’s disciples for a blessing for his son, but they were not able to provide it. With the boy still gnashing his teeth, foaming from the mouth, and thrashing on the ground in front of them, the father appealed to Jesus with what must have been last-resort desperation in his voice: “If thou canst do any thing,” he said, “have compassion on us, and help us.
“Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.
“And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief” . . .
With this tender scriptural record as a backdrop, I wish to address these thoughts directly to the young people of the Church—young in years of age or young in years of membership or young in years of faith. One way or another, that should include just about all of us.
Observation number one regarding this account is that when facing the challenge of faith, the father asserts his strength first and only then acknowledges his limitation. His initial declaration is affirmative and without hesitation: “Lord, I believe.” I would say to all who wish for more faith, remember this man! In moments of fear or doubt or troubling times, hold the ground you have already won, even if that ground is limited. In the growth we all have to experience in mortality, the spiritual equivalent of this boy’s affliction or this parent’s desperation is going to come to all of us. When those moments come and issues surface, the resolution of which is not immediately forthcoming, hold fast to what you already know and stand strong until additional knowledge comes. . . .
What do you think of when you see a Christmas ribbon or stockings? These common holiday items can symbolize a lot more--find out what they might mean for Latter-day Saints.
Like many of us I’m intrigued by symbols—perhaps because I’m active in a church that honors symbolism, or maybe because of a poet heart or that I like to think about things deeply, especially things that make me feel deeply. Most likely it has something to do with all of the above working in collaboration to teach me, or at least remind me of, what is significant.
Like many seekers I appreciate having a little background or history on a symbol. Check out these five common Christmas symbols and the meaning behind them.
One of my favorite symbols to read about is the Christmas tree. My lifelong belief that the tree was a pagan practice made me wonder at times why we as LDS people participated. I learned that although it is true that the lighted tree was a pagan ritual, there are other stories about the Christmas tree.
Most agree it appeared first in Germany. In fact, there is a beautiful legend about Martin Luther involving a fir tree. My favorite version is that while journeying home one wintery night, Luther walked unexpectedly into a snow-covered meadow where a single fir tree stood, radiant in the moonlight, each snow crystal reflecting like a thousand tiny stars. He was so moved by the image that he chopped the tree down and dragged it miles to display in his home where the stalwart stance of the tree, down to each tiny needle pointing heavenward, became a reminder of hope in Christ through the dark winter.
Looking to brighten more than one person’s day this Christmas? These gifts that give back will make you feel as if you’re doing the most good with your gift. And the lucky recipient of these gifts will know that their gift made a difference in someone else’s life.
Girls Who Choose God - Whether you’re giving to a girl who’s 8 years old or a girl who’s 80 years old, this book about faithful women throughout time will be the greatest stocking stuffer for the lucky ladies in your life. Plus, all of the author’s proceeds will be donated to Interweave Solutions, which supports educational and employment opportunities for LDS young women around the world.
The Romney Family Table from Deseret Book - This great cookbook filled with recipes and fun family traditions is a great addition to any home. Ann Romney, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1998, donates the royalties from this book to neurological research.
Ever wonder what was going on in the world when the first student stake was organized, or when the Aaronic Priesthood ages changed? We've done the research for you and found some surprising connections in 20th-century world and church history. See part one from the 19th century by clicking here.
More than a million twinkling lights are estimated to be part of Temple Square at Christmas--but how well do you know the winter decorations and events on Temple Square? Here are 20 things we bet you haven't heard before!
Visiting Temple Square at Christmas time is on a lot of people's bucket lists--and not just for Mormons. The lights display on the Salt Lake Temple's grounds makes December a favorite time for visitors.
One couple--not LDS--comes every year all the way from North Carolina to see the Christmas displays, "Because no one celebrates Christmas like the Mormons do."
And while Temple Square always has surprises in store no matter when you go, at this time of year, there's something extra magical about this wonder of the Mormon world when it's adorned with beautiful nativities and decorated with glowing lights on every tree, bush, and building. It's a magic that brings peace. As Elder Richard L. Evans said at the first lighting ceremony in 1965, "We thought that Temple Square should be a place where men could come and reflect on the real meaning of Christmas."