RSS Feed
  1. How We Can Better Support The Mother’s In Our Lives…

    May 10, 2014 by Ben Tanner

    Hello Brothers and Sister’s I’m grateful for the privilege it is to speak today.     It’s humbling to speak on Mother’s day.  As you can see I’m not a Mom.  The facial hair I have was probably a dead giveaway.  I’m  completely unqualified to give motherly advice!

    No brother’s and sisters I won’t be attempting to give any advice to Mom’s today I also won’t be going to great detail about my own mother although I could give many examples of what I think a mother should be from her remarkable life.

    I remember one Mother’s day on my Mission where a woman spoke in Sacrament meeting.  She gave a great talk, the only problem was that she spoke about how great her Dad was the whole time.  It was quite confusing.

    Instead, I’ll be asking the question “How can we better support the Mother’s in our lives fulfill their sacred roles.”

    Before I get into that, let me define what I mean by the word “Mother”

    The first presidency message of November 1942 said:

    “Motherhood is the highest, holiest service … assumed by mankind.”

    Think of that.  The prophets of God said the Motherhood is the quote “Holiest service.”  There is no service in the church or the world that is more holy than Motherhood, not even Priesthood service.

    Also former General Relief Society Presidency member Sheri Dew said:

    “While we tend to equate motherhood solely with maternity, in the Lord’s language,the word mother has layers of meaning. Of all the words they could have chosen to define her role and her essence, both God the Father and Adam called Eve “the mother of all living” 3 and they did so before she ever bore child. Like Eve,  motherhood begins before birthJust as worthy men were foreordained to hold the priesthood in mortality, 4 righteous women were endowed pre-mortally with the privilege of motherhood. 5  Motherhood is more than bearing children, though it is certainly that. It is the essence of who women are. It defines their very identity, their divine stature and nature, and the unique traits our Father gave them.”

    So today I would like to explore some ways we can better support the Mothers in our lives.  This includes all righteous women who may or may not have given birth because we know that no blessing will be permanently withheld from those who keep their covenants.  Blessings will come either in this life or the next.  In addition to this, all women can “mother” others now.

    When our first parents, Adam and Eve took of the forbidden fruit, they were both given “Curses”.  In fact when God is explaining the curse to Adam he says that he will “Curse the ground for his sake.”  Note the phrase “for your sake”.  These curses would in the end benefit Adam and Eve and their posterity.  It seems that the Lord is so loving that even when he curses, it does it for our benefit.  But what about Eve’s curse?

    Let’s read In Genesis 3:16 :

     16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children;and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. “

    Although the language of the old testament might not be politically correct today let’s dive into it’s meaning.

    1. Women will will have the possibility of great sorrow (and by connection great joy) connected to childbearing
    2. Women will struggle at times with the desire to take over their husbands job of presiding because many men won’t be worthy to preside or we could say to hold the Priesthood.
    3. Yet It is given to the husband to preside in the home.

    Notice that both “curses”  give human beings the possibility of both the terrible and the good.  For the man, his work could enslave him, or it could empower him.  For the woman, the prospect or having children could bring the greatest sorrow or the greatest Joy.

    The Woman is faced with the choice of making mothering her first priority on the one hand, or trying to take over the role of  the Man on the other.

    Much later in the New Testament, the possibilities of this curse are put into perspective by the apostle Paul:

    In 1 Timothy 2:15 Paul has been discussing those women who want to rule in the church and decides to use the curse of Adam and Eve to help us understand each divine role.  He and ends the discussion with this:
     15 Notwithstanding she (the woman) shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.

    Paul gives a key here.  Certainly Paul is not saying that only women who give birth can be saved.  He is also not saying that giving birth forgives a woman of her sins.  Instead he is talking about this in reference to the curse of Eve and the choices she has surrounding her role.  He is showing that a when a woman fulfills her motherly role, instead of trading it for other possibilities a woman might have or desire, it can lead her to a closer relationship with Christ and thereby save her.  She can either look at motherhood as a curse or a blessing.  She can either use this to bring her great benefit or to bring her great sorrow.  She can use motherhood as a tool to change herself for the better, or try to  trade it for a role that could give her some happiness but will never bring her complete fulfillment.  Remember that every woman regardless of her current circumstances, if she is faithful with eventually have all the blessings associated with Motherhood.

    I think it’s only fair here to say that if we expect women to be content with their divine role of motherhood, we had better do everything in our power glorify, give honor to, and to help them fulfill that role.  We as men better by worthy to fulfill our role.  For Women are under no obligation to follow husbands or Priesthood leaders who are not worthy.

    In Doctrine and Covenants section 121 we read:

     34 Behold, there are many called, but few are chosen. And why are they not chosen?

     35 Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men, that they do not learn this one lesson—

     36 That the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness.

     37 That they may be conferred upon us, it is true; but when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man.


    So back to my question: How can the rest of us help the mother’s in our lives fulfill this holiest of services, and thereby turn this curse for their sake into the greatest of blessings?


    I have 5 suggestions:


    My list is certainly not exhaustive, but I think it touches on some important points:


    1. She doesn’t have time to fill your role so husbands make sure your role is filled.

    As husbands, our job is to Provide, Preside, and Protect…

    2. Let her have time for herself

    One characteristic I’ve observed in both my wife and my mother is the tendency to always put her children or others needs before her own.  This can be a blessing and a curse.  Sometimes Mother’s need to be reminded that they are people too!  They need time for themselves to relax.  They need time to spend with friends.  They need time to work on their own interests and dreams.  But in my experience, it is unlikely that they will do this if they feel that their more important roles are not taken care of.  Their best of intentions can lead to burn out if we are not their to help facilitate their need for “me” time.   We can help by watching the kids.  We can help by being better home and visiting teachers.  We can help by taking giving them regular breaks.
    3. Help her see that what she is doing has eternal value

    Elder JeffereyR. Holland said:

    “May I say to mothers collectively, in the name of the Lord, you are magnificent. You are doing terrifically well. The very fact that you have been given such a responsibility is everlasting evidence of the trust your Father in Heaven has in you. He is blessing you and He will bless you, even—no, especially—when your days and your nights may be the most challenging. Rely on Him. Rely on Him heavily. Rely on Him forever. And “press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope.””
    4. If the House is dirty, or something else needs to be done, clean it.

    If the house is dirty, chances are the Mother’s in your life haven’t sitting around all day watching TV.  It’s most likely that cleaning ended up being the least important thing on their very long list.  Instead of spending time trying to find out why.. just jump in and lend a hand.

    5. Husbands, treat her like you did when you were dating and Love her.

    President David O. McKay often quoted this statement of Theodore Hesburg:

    “The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.”


    I would like to thank the Mother’s in my life.  For every time they’ve cleaned up after me.  For every time they have eased my burdens.  For every time they’ve  lifted my mind to higher thinking.  For their great wisdom and love.  For their sacred nurturing natures.  I testify that the woman can truly can receive the greatest of joys through her divine service as a mother.  I pray that the rest of us will do all we can to support mothers in their most sacred and holiest of roles.

    Thank you Mother’s


    In the name of Jesus Christ Amen.






  2. Origins…

    March 30, 2014 by Ben Tanner

    My Mother is Timpanogos. 

    Laying down her body on the jagged rocks.

    Willing to jump for love.

    The valleys and people below her are nourished.

    The orchards ripen with fruit.

    Her song is always a beautiful solo.

    She sacrifices herself so the dew will dance in spring.

    At Summer’s end, she hangs on to the snow still left over from last winter.

    She holds on to it even when others

    have forgotten that winter will come again.


    My Father is Shiprock.

    Willing to stand on his own.

    He sails where there is no water.

    His skin darkened with Sun.

    The ship finds a way to keep moving.

    Through the vast desert basin he keeps his compass fixed on the stars.

    The rain doesn’t come often, but when it does it carves sand from his heart.

    The sand slowly makes it’s way down the San Juan river

    and passes trees planted by his ancestors.

    It passes by Hogans, Medicine men and Mormon elders trading.

    It see’s a little boy hiding next to the river dreaming of sailing far away.


    — Ben Tanner (for my parents Ron & Jane Tanner)



    My mother grew up in Orem, Utah in the shadows of Mt. Timpanogos.  My father grew up in Kirtland, New Mexico not far from Shiprock.


  3. 3 Myths About Mormons…

    February 16, 2014 by Ben Tanner

    1.  Mormons have horns


    This one has made many Mormons laugh.  But would be surprised how many people actually believe Mormon’s have horns.  We did some research to figure out where this myth came from and found the following:

    While serving as the president of the Southern States Mission (south eastern area of the United States) J. Golden Kimball was officiating at a midnight baptism.  The baptism was being held at midnight for the protection of those involved.  The KKK showed up and started to get hot tar ready so they could tar and feather the Mormons.  President Kimball told the rest of the company to leave to protect them and said he was going to reason with the men.  He overheard the men saying it looked like “the skinny one” had horns (looking through the darkness).  J. Golden was wearing a hat that must have given that appearance.  President Kimball responded to what he heard by saying that Mormons have horns and if they (the KKK) didn’t leave he was going to “Gouge the Hell out of them.”   The men left not wanting to risk it, and the myth of Mormons and horns was born.


    2. Mormons Worship Joseph Smith


    As a missionary in Alabama, I often encountered this myth.  Mormons do revere Joseph Smith as a prophet of God just like Moses, or Abraham.  But they don’t worship Joseph.   Joseph was an instrument in the hands of God to restore the church of Jesus Christ.  But he was a fallible, human being who needed the atonement of Christ just like anyone else.  Joseph never claimed to be God.  He always pointed to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost as the one true and eternal Godhead.  Joseph was the first prophet in this dispensation and has been followed by other prophets all the way to Thomas S. Monson today.  Each president/prophet of the church  is very careful to make sure everyone knows they are NOT the head of the church, rather Christ is the head of the church and it belongs to Him.


    3. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is a “White” church.


    The truth is that for many years the population of the church was mainly made up of members of Caucasian ethnicity.  However you might be surprised to know that more members of the church live outside of the United States than live inside.  The membership of the church is very diverse now with large populations and ethnicity’s from countries all over the world.  The Book of Mormon says:

    “33 For none of these iniquities come of the Lord; for he doeth that which is good among the children of men; and he doeth nothing save it be plain unto the children of men; and he inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile.”

    It’s true the Priesthood was withheld from males of African decent.  This was rooted in 19th century folk doctrine.  It was unclear for years if this was based on an actual revelation or just a policy put in place for a time. The Lord revealed to the Prophet Spencer W. Kimball that this practice should end.  (for more information on this read here)

    But the priesthood and all temple blessings are available to all worthy males now.



  4. On Adversity…

    December 8, 2013 by Ben Tanner

    My father Ron Tanner and his Mother.

    My father Ron Tanner and his Mother.

    My Dad was born the oldest son of Stanley A. Tanner and Alcie Jeanette Wilson.  They had a very young, contentious, and fast marriage.  My Dad was born with malformation of his left arm. (dysmelia).  He grew up in the small Mormon town of Kirtland New Mexico.  It had been founded by his ancestors when they were forced off of what become the Navajo reservation.

    His father, Stan, was the oldest son of a large family of Indian traders.  This family had 9 children and because of the failed 1st marriage of Stan, his son Ron was taken in as a part of his fathers family and treated much more like a younger brother then a nephew by his Uncles and Aunt.

    His deformed arm was often hidden in photographs like the one featured in this post with his mother.  To this day if you see a photo of my dad, you’ll notice he prefers to hide his left arm.

    One might think of this as embarrasment, but there is also another way to look at it.

    Instead, if you were to see his arm in a photo, you would probably miss the real man because you might concentrate more on his arm than him.  You see my Dad is one of the most innovative, inventive, perservering, ambitious, strong, and talented people I know.

    He had to learn from an early age to compensate for his arm.  In a family of mostly boys he had to learn to fight, play ball, and work hard.  There was no time or resources to “baby” someone.

    He never let his arm get in the way.  He played sports and was a gifted athlete.  He served in leadership postitions.  His dancing skills were the first thing my Mother noticed about him.  He has served an honorable LDS mission and served in Priesthood leadership throughout his life.  Indeed he has touched countless lives with his amazing service and strong handshake.  He raised a family of 7 children and has owned and managed several businesses.  He has invented products and services, many that came from his need to find a way to do things differently.

    My brothers and I have marvelled how he used to run 12 miles every day and then at the end of his run, he would use a shovel to move a pile of dirt from one place to another and then back.  That was his workout regimen.

    He isn’t perfect.  He had a temper, but like so many things in life this might have been a blessing in disguise because it gave him fuel to push through hard times.

    The point is that no matter who you are and what challenge you face your percieved weaknesses can be made into strengths.  If you will humble yourself, the Lord can change your lemons into lemonade as it were.  My Grandmother (Nani, my Dad’s step mother) told me the other day that she is sure that before this life the Lord needed people to take on bodies, minds, and circumstances that were very difficult in order to help us all learn lessons we couldn’t otherwise learn.  She is convinced my father volunteered for this service knowing it was to be mind blowingly hard.  Of course this isn’t doctrine, but it is an interesting thought.

    Surely in the macro sense, The Plan of Salvation tests all of us the same.  But in the micro sense each of us have a unique challenge or set of challenges that are designed to either make or break us.  Our reaction to these challenges will be the difference.  We can soften and humble our hearts and have faith in Christ, or we can harden our hearts and turn away from the nourishment we so desparetely need.

    “If you take away the gift of reading, you create the gift of listening. If you bomb a city, you leave behind death and destruction. But you create a community of remote misses (people unafraid of bombing). If you take away a mother or a father, you cause suffering and despair. But one time in ten, out of that despair rises an indomitable force. You see the giant and the shepard in the Valley of Elah and your eye is drawn to the man with the sword and sheild and the glittering armor. But so much of what is beautiful and valuable in the world comes from the shepard, who has more strength and purpose than we ever imagine.” – Malcolm Gladwell “David and Goliath page 275.

    Years after the death of Andre Trocme’s son he said…
    “Even today I carry a death within myself, the death of my son, and I am like a decapitated pine. Pine trees do not regenerate their tops. They stay twisted, crippled.

    They grow in thickness, perhaps, and that is what I am doing.” – Andre Trocme.

    “Only the Master knows the depths of our trials, our pain, and our suffering. He alone offers us eternal peace in times of adversity. He alone touches our tortured souls” – Thomas S. Monson

    Ether 12:27

    27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.

    In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.






  5. 5 Natural Man Tendencies That Will Make You Miserable

    September 29, 2013 by Ben Tanner

    • imagesDoctrine and Covenants 67:12

      12 Neither can any natural man abide the presence of God, neither after the carnal mind.

    • Mosiah 3:19

      19 For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.

    • 1 Corinthians 2:14

      14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.


    1. Coveting
    You’ll never be happy if you are comparing yourself to other people.  There are so many things that people covet after.  Coveting doesn’t just lead to theft… it leads to a miserable self image where you never are content with what you have or who you are.  It’s a Natural Man disease.  Some of the happiest people in the world have little to nothing of possessions, fame, or good looks.  But they have learned to be content with what they have, and with who they are.

    2. Not Forgiving
    Another tendency of the natural man is to hold on to grudges and not forgive others.  They hold personal court daily where they are the judge and jury.  The problem is they are also very hard on themselves.  They hold onto past mistakes like a security blanket and condemn even themselves.  Most of the time, the unforgiven don’t even know they have been put on trial by the unforgiving.  The unforgiving end up hurting themselves.

    3. Not Repenting
    In the end, there isn’t away around the justice of God. It has it’s claim and even mercy cannot rob it.  The price must be paid.  Some natural man tendencies are to run away from our past mistakes.  Some people try to run so far that they imagine there is no right and wrong.  They don’t want to be held accountable so they imagine God doesn’t exist.  But they are still miserable because they still want justice.  They want everyone to do what they think is right, but don’t want to be accountable for the things they have done wrong. So, they end up being hypocrites.  Demanding justice on everyone else but themselves.  The only way out of this miserable state is to acknowledge that right and wrong and God do exist and to repent.  The act of repentance alone can’t fully satisfy the demands of justice, but a loving Savoir who died for us can.  The only escape from this misery is through Jesus Christ.

    4. Lacking Gratitude
    Being grateful is one of the most important keys to happiness.  And the antithesis is also true.  The tendency to be ungrateful will kill happiness like cold water on a hot fire.  When you look at the world on only see the evil and miserable, you will become miserable.  Your mind will become dark and jaded.  You will sink into despair.

    5.  Living in the Past
    The only value of looking at the past is to learn from it.  But if you find yourself always looking behind you and focusing on past mistakes or poor choices you will be miserable.  The only way you can change your life is to start from right now…and stay in the now.  Likewise, always pinning your hopes on some future happiness will rob you of today’s happiness.  Jesus said: “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” – Matthew 6:34





  6. With God, All Things Are Possible

    August 18, 2013 by Ben Tanner

     imagesAnd it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.

    If you are anything like me, you probably read this scripture and focus on Nephi’s courageous and obedient heart.  His determination to do whatever the Lord wants to him to do.  His complete faith in his Father-in-heaven.  Those are all good things to focus on when reading this scripture.  But recently I’ve felt the need to focus on what Nephi is actually pointing to in this scripture.  Nephi, I think would be embarrassed if he knew people were focusing on him rather than the power of the Lord when reading this scripture.  I believe Nephi is pointing us to the Lord’s power to provide a way, no matter how hard, no matter how impossible the task might be.  It is the Lord, says Nephi that is so just that He won’t even command you to do anything without providing a way for you to do it.  Even if that “way” is through God’s power alone.   Jesus said “I am the way, the truth and the life”  Jesus is the way Nephi is pointing to.   Nephi know’s that without the power of the Lord, he would fail.  But with Him, he cannot fail.

    The prophet Lorenzo snow said:

    “In and of ourselves we cannot possibly comply with all the commandments that God has given unto us. Jesus himself could not without divine aid from His Father accomplish His work. He said on one occasion, “I can of mine own self do nothing, as I hear I judge and my judgment is just because I seek not my own will but the will of the Father who sent me.” [John 5:30.] And we, if it was necessary for Him, our Lord,to have divine assistance, will find it all the more important to receive His assistance. And in every circumstance and condition surrounding the Latter-day Saints, while in the performance of their duties, they are entitled to supernatural aid from the Holy Spirit, to help in the various conditions surrounding them, and in the duties that they are required to perform.”

    Simply put, you can’t do it alone.  But you can do it with God.  He is all powerful.  His words will all be fulfilled.  As Nephi said, He will provide a way.  He loves you.  No matter what mountain you need to move in your life, He can provide a way.  Indeed He aready did.  He provide THE WAY.  And that is Jesus Christ.

    In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

  7. Blessings of the Sacrament

    July 21, 2013 by Ben Tanner

    The Lord's Supper

    Jessica and I were asked to speak in sacrament meeting today.  Here is my talk.


    Good afternoon Brothers and Sisters.  It’s a privilege to have the opportunity to speak to you today.  It’s also very humbling.  Since we’ve moved in, we’ve  watched and have been so impressed with this ward.  We are so grateful to be a part of it.  It’s humbling to speak to people like you who are all so talented and accomplished.

    Thank you for the warm welcome we have received.  My talk today is based on a talk given in the October 2012 General Conference from Elder Don R. Clarke of the Seventy, in it he gives us 5 principles to help us gain the blessings of the Sacrament.

    The first principle is..


    I. Have a Feeling of Gratitude for the Atonement of Jesus Christ


    The sacrament is all about the atonement of Jesus Christ.  Many of you have come here today seeking healing in your hearts and minds.  Not just for things you may have done wrong, but for things others have done to you.  For questions unanswered, for worries and for stress.  The good news of the Gospel is the profound reality that no matter why you came, there are answers, there is healing, there is forgiveness.

    You really can leave the past behind and start new.  You can change bad habits.  You can change the very way you think.  But you cannot do any of this alone.  So our loving Father in Heaven has given you the gift and miracle you are seeking.  He has sent His son to pay the FULL price for all of your sins.  To give you the power to forgive others, to heal your hearts and minds, and to give truthful answers to all of your questions.  He has all power, and all knowledge.  He loves you deeply.  When we approach the sacrament with gratitude, we open up ourselves to the healing balm we so desperately need.

    II. Remember That We Are Renewing Baptismal Covenants


    What if you took another approach to the sacrament?  We are often told that when we take the sacrament worthily, it renews the covenants we made at baptism.  Do you remember the day you were baptized?  Do you remember how it felt?  If not, have you seen one of your own children or another adult baptized recently?  I remember how clean I felt.  You can feel that clean every week.  What if you approached sacrament meeting with the same excitement you did your own baptism?

    It shouldn’t be any different.  In fact, the older we get, the more we realize just how much we need the Savior in our lives, so when our covenants  are renewed, it can become an even deeper and fulfilling experience each time we partake.

    I recently had the privilege of baptising my son Eli.  My testimony of the sacred priesthood has grown as I’ve watched the change in Him since his baptism.  He is more careful now at what he say’s.  In fact we recently found out that baby #1 is going to be another boy and Eli’s first reaction to this was something to the effect of  “Oh no,  he’ll see Abe and I fight and that won’t be a good example!”  I suggested to him that maybe they could avoid the problem by not fighting at all.

    III. During the Sacrament We Can Feel Forgiven of Our Sins


    We are taught that we came to earth to gain bodies and to be tested to see if we would keep God’s commandments.

    However, the bodies we’ve gained are not perfect.  They are mortal and fallen because of the fall of Adam and Eve.  They come with sickness, weakness, urges, and appetites.  The eating of the bread helps us remember the body of Jesus Christ.  When I take the bread, I like to remember that because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, someday, I will have a perfect renewed body just like Him.  I will have full control over my body and mind.  It is this part of the sacrament that reminds me that we are punished for our own sins and not Adam’s transgression.  We might have to suffer in the flesh in this life, but eventually, God through His son has given us a victory over death and the fall.

    When I take the water, I remember the blood of Jesus that was spilled for us.  It is this blood that cleanses us from our own sins.  We are washed and made clean.  If we have repented and tried to keep the commandments we are promised forgiveness.  This forgiveness is not something we have to wait for.  We can claim it every time we take the sacrament.  We can know that we are worthy and if we were to die we would inherit eternal life.  So the sacrament helps us remember that the Atonement covers both our fallen mortal bodies, but also our sins.  We can know we are forgiven.

    IV. We Can Receive Inspiration for Solutions to Our Problems


    As I mentioned before, many come here worried about problems in our lives.  It could be a question we have about our faith.  It could be a problem with our employment.  It could be a problem in our marriage or with another family member or friend.  Whatever the problem or set of problems you’ve come here today with, know this.  You can find answers, inspiration, and even solutions through the administration of the sacrament.  I’d like to quote Elder Cooke’s talk directly:

    …we can receive inspiration for solutions to our problems during sacrament meeting. When I was a mission president in Bolivia, my wife, Mary Anne, and I had the blessing of attending a mission presidents’ seminar with President Henry B. Eyring. In that meeting he taught that there are three important ways to prepare to benefit from a meeting. We should come with our problems, humble as children ready to learn, and with the desire to help God’s children.

    As we humbly come to sacrament meeting, we can be blessed to feel impressions for solutions to our daily problems. We must come prepared, be willing to listen, and not be distracted. In the scriptures we read, “But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right.”10 We can know what we should do to solve our problems.

    V. Partaking of the Sacrament Worthily Will Help Us Be Filled with the Holy Ghost


    The sacrament prayer says: “that they may always have his Spirit to be with them.”  The Spirit spoken of here is none other than the Holy Ghost.  We often teach that the Holy Ghost will teach us what to do, and that He will also testify of truth to us.  But we should remember that the Holy Ghost is also involved in our own sanctification.  Each time we take the Sacrament worthily, we can be filled with the Holy Ghost who purifies us and even changes us.

    • Helaman 3:35
      Nevertheless they did fast and pray oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their humility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling their souls with joy and consolation, yea, even to the purifying and the sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their yielding their hearts unto God.

    • 1st John 3:24
      And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.

    Brothers and sisters, the Lord has given us the Sacrament as a great blessing.  It is administered by His authorized servants.  It is our great opportunity to prepare for it each week by breaking grateful, repentant contrite hearts, and offering up our questions, pleadings and faith to the Lord.  If we do, we will change over time.  We will become more like God.  We will be forgiven, cleansed and sanctified.  And when the time comes, we’ll be able to face our Heavenly Father with clean hands and a pure heart.

    In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

  8. Are You A “Saved” Mormon?

    July 14, 2013 by Ben Tanner


    I served an LDS mission in Alabama. I was often asked the question by evangelical Christians if I had been “Saved”.  At first, this question can puzzle many Mormons. We typically don’t view Salvation as a single, one moment in time event. You have to admit, the idea is appealing when our evangelical friends say you can “know for sure right now that you’re going to heaven.”

    So can Mormons know right now if they are going to heaven? The answer is an unequivocal yes. How can a Mormon know? Mormon’s believe that it is through the grace of Jesus Christ that we are saved.   We also believe that we have personal agency, and the power to make choices, both good and bad. We believe that in order to realize the blessings of the grace of Jesus, we have to be faithful to the end of our lives. Put another way, we have to repent when we sin in order to be reinstated to the grace of Jesus Christ.

    We believe that there is the possibility that people can fall from the grace of Christ. Just like the apostle Paul said “Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.” Paul in this instance is talking about people who believe they can be saved by the law, but none-the-less he mentioned that they are actually fallen from grace – which shows that one can fall from grace.

    Latter-day Saints would also say that when we willfully disobey God’s commandments we break the covenant of grace we made at baptism. When you are baptized, you promise to take upon yourself the name of Christ, and promise to keep His commandments. But when you break these commandments, you have broken your promise, and your covenants. This covenant can be restored and renewed through repentance and partaking of the sacrament, otherwise known as the Lord’s supper, or Eucharist.

    So when this covenant is restored each week, a Mormon knows she or he is saved.   They are what the apostle John calls “dwelling in Him.” (1st John 3:24)

    An often quoted scripture in the Book of Mormon is 2 Nephi 25:23:

    …for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.

    Later in the book of Mormon we read of the people of Ammon who say in Alma 24:11:

    11 And now behold, my brethren, since it has been all that we  could do (as we were the most lost of all mankind) to repent of all our sins and the many murders which we have committed, and to get God to take them away from our hearts, for it was all we could do to repent sufficiently before God that he would take away our stain—

    In the end all we can do is repent, renew our covenants and try again.

    Another way for a Mormon to know they are saved is even less complicated. It involves the Holy Ghost. When a person is baptized into the church, they are also given the Gift of the Holy Ghost. We are taught that the Holy Ghost doesn’t dwell in unclean tabernacles. So a great rule of thumb for any latter-day saint to know if they are saved is if they have the Spirit of The Lord with them. If you can truly say that the Spirit is with you, you can know for sure you’ve been forgiven of your sins, and you are clean. You are “dwelling in Him”. (1st John 3:24 –

    And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.

    Another important thing to understand is that there is a fundamental difference in what Mormons believe when it comes to the fall of Adam and Eve. Our article of faith says “We believe that man will be punished for his own sins and not for Adam’s transgression” I don’t think many Mormons even understand the significance of this statement.

    Creedal Christianity teaches that because of the fall of Adam, everyone is born depraved and more specifically in Calvinism, we are so depraved that we are incapable of making any good choices. I think the confusion lies in the fall. Mormons would say that the fall did bring death, sickness, deformation, and weakness into the world. It did put us in a state where we could be tempted by various things. But temptation is not sin. The Lord himself was tempted in “all things.” (Hebrews 4:15)  But He didn’t give into it. Mormons believe sin is WILLFUL disobedience to God. In other words we are not accountable for the urges, and temptations we experience in this life because we have no control over them. We are however accountable for what we do have control over, and that is giving in to those temptations. Having those urges and temptations doesn’t make us depraved, for we are eternal beings Sons and Daughters of the Living God, put into imperfect bodies that are imperfect because of the fall.

    Someday, because of Christ, those bodies will be made perfect. Our test is to play the game with the cards we are dealt, and play by the rules. When we break the rules, and give in to temptation, we have a Savior who is ready to forgive and who has paid the price if we repent and renew our covenant with Him.  The trick is to stay in the covenant.  If you stay in the covenant, you have grace, if you have grace, you have heaven.

    One last point. When a Mormon is talking salvation they are talking about the Celestial Kingdom. We would consider all three kingdoms of glory a sort of salvation or Heaven. But we are most interested in the highest where our Heavenly Father dwells.

    So are you saved? Yes if you “dwelleth in Him.”

  9. 10 Evidences For The Book Of Mormon

    June 30, 2013 by Ben Tanner

    book-of-mormonCritics of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can often be heard saying that “There is no evidence for the Book of Mormon, none whatsoever”.  Au contraire mon fraire… Here is just a small sample of real evidence for the Book of Mormon.  This list is in no way a substitute for the ultimate testimony one can gain through the Holy Ghost that the Book of Mormon is true, but it will give your mind a few things to consider as you pray to know that it’s true… (this list is by no means exhaustive)


    1. Stone boxes and metal plates.

    At the time of Joseph Smith and many years afterwords the idea of Gold or other metallic plates was scoffed at because nothing of the kind had been found in the old world or the new.  However, that isn’t the case anymore.  Metallic plates have been found in both the old world and new world some even inside stone boxes.    Here is more information:

    2. Ancient American Writing Systems

    At the time of Joseph Smith, the idea that Native Americans were advanced enough to have written languages was also laughed at.    But written languages have now been found in both Meso-America and North America.   So regardless of what Book of Mormon geography you subscribe to, you can find strong linguistic and writing evidence for the Book of Mormon.

    3. Earthwork walls  & palisades

    The Book of Mormon talks about earthworks and palisades surrounding cities used to protect them from attack.  This can be found around cities in both North and Meso America in the correct time frame.

    4. Wooden Swords, Spears, shields, armor.

    The Book of Mormon talks about armor that was made for battle.  It talks about swords that were “Stained With Blood”.  How can metal swords be stained?  When we look at the swords used in ancient america we find wooden swords that had obsidian blades.  Very sharp and deadly.    Wood can very easily be stained with blood. Shields, helmets, and body armor have also been found.

    5. Cutting off arms.

    In ancient America, a common practice was to cut off the arms of your opponents in battle as a sort of trophy or for proof that you had won the fight.  The Book of Mormon describes Ammon cutting off the arms of his would be assailants.  These arms were taken to the King to show what he had done.
    6.Human sacrice

    There is ample evidence for human sacrifice in both North and Meso-America.  This practice is also described in the Book of Mormon.

    7. Cities, Temples, Towers, show up for the right time

    At the time of Joseph Smith the view of Native Americans was that they were too unorganized and savage like to even have built cities.  However we find cities in both Meso-America and North America complete with temples that match the time-frames of the Book of Mormon.  Both the Hopewell culture in  North America and the Mayans in Meso America had large established cities that fit.

    8. Cement

    The Book of Mormon talks about cities being built with cement in “the land northward”  And indeed cement has been found in Teotihuacan north of traditional Mayan lands.

    9. Kings

    We know that in Meso America many of the cities were ruled by kings.  That is, we know that today.  But in Joseph Smith’s day not many years after the revolutionary war, there was an anti-king culture in america.  Why would Joseph choose to show that the Jaredites and Nephites for a time were ruled by kings?  Also, that the Lamanites were ruled by kings through almost their whole history?

    10. Nahom


    Bonus – Bountiful:



  10. I’m Going To Be A Mormon

    June 23, 2013 by Ben Tanner


    I once heard of a man who had decided that no matter what life through at him, he was going to be a Mormon. This has stuck with me. What he was really saying is that, he would have faith in The Lord and his church. He would endure. This is hard at times. Not because the Gospel isn’t true, but rather it’s hard to be true to the commandments. Isn’t it great to know that the loving arms of the savior are always ready to forgive.

    Peter made a similar statement before The Lord was taken, beaten, and crucified, and ended up denying Him three times. But Peter was forgiven, and later made good on his promise by giving his very life for The Lord.

    I’m sure there will be times when I will fall short. But come what may, I’m going to be a Mormon. A deciple of the living Christ. A member of His church.